A 70s Psychedelic Record by 'The New Chubby Checker’A 70s Psychedelic Record by 'The New Chubby Checker’


A 70s Psychedelic Record by 'The New Chubby Checker’

Chubby Checker's rock 'n roll classic "The Twist" was the 1958 equivalent of a viral TikTok hit. But when crowds started to lose interest in the dance craze in the late-60s, the early rock & roller had to take a left turn to reinvent himself. 1971's 'Chequered!' is a psychedelic record heavily influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton’s Cream, rooted in gritty rock and rhythm-and-blues.




February 16, 2023

After the groundbreaking success of his cover of "The Twist" by Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, building off new dance styles was a golden formula for rock 'n roll singer and dancer Chubby Checker. Other trademark dances include the Pony dance, The Fly, The Hucklebuck, and a song called "Limbo Rock" about limbo dancing, made by adding vocals to the same-titled instrumental hit by The Champs. The drums of that original 1961 version were decades later famously sampled by Fatboy Slim for "Weapon of Choice."

But the dawn of the 70s marked a different kind of twist and turn. He wanted to introduce "the new Chubby Checker," as written in the liner notes for Chequered! "Those who expect to find an echo of the days of the twist will not find it—they will find instead much more." He enlisted the help of manager and record producer Ed Chalpin to work on the album. Chalpin was the first to sign Jimi Hendrix back in 1965, years before Hendrix' rise to fame. His involvement explains the heavy psychedelic edge of Chequered!. Also considering Chalpin just finished recording the psychedelic rock gem Down In The Village by close Jimi Hendrix collaborator Curtis Knight.

chubby checker

"You have to be very strong to play my music. The drummer has to be in great shape. Same with the guitarist. You have to be a monster to play with Chubby!"

—Chubby Checker

The psychedelic nature served as a backdrop for a more grim outing by the former happy-go-lucky Mister Twister. As the liner notes explain: "Throughout this album, he shows a healthy skepticism of the present and the future, and suggests that we are moving uncontrollably in the direction of our own downfall. In 'He Died' he reminds us of the blindness of the crucifiers of Christ, or any other prophet for that matter. (...) 'Love Tunnel' reminds us that personal relationships are things we too readily neglect. 'If The Sun Stopped Shining' points to the feeling that any day now it will all be over."

The likes of Naughty by Nature, Ninja Tune's Luke Vibert, and most notably Fat Boys with an 80s hip-hop version of "The Twist" produced by The Latin Rascals, all kept the spirit of "The Twist" alive through sampling. But with Chequered!, Chubby Checker embarked on his own personal journey. The record was originally only released in Europe before being re-released later with the apt titles of New Revelation and The Other Side of Chubby Checker. It's as the liner notes on the back sleeve introduce the record: "This is the new Chubby Checker."

Get inspired by how the Tracklib Community flips Chubby Checker's 'He Died':

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