Chubby Checker Performing at Country Tonite

Mar 27, 2015

Chubby Checker Performing at Country Tonite

American Bandstand host Dick Clark once said,

“The three most important things that ever happened in the music industry are Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Chubby Checker.”

One of those is headed to the Smokies to perform – and since Elvis IS gone (despite what some may say) and there’s no word of a Beatles reunion, you probably guessed Chubby Checker correctly.

The music legend will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, June 12, 2015 at Pigeon Forge’s Country Tonite Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Chubby-Checker.jpg

According to, Checker was born as Ernest Evans in Spring Gulley, S.C. and raised in the projects of South Philadelphia. By age 8 he had formed a street corner harmony group, and in high school he took piano lessons and entertained classmates with impersonations of popular entertainers such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino.

Checker privately recorded a novelty single for Dick Clark in which Checker portrayed a school teacher with an unruly classroom of musical performers. The premise allowed him to imitate Presley, Domino, Cozy Cole, Ricky Nelson, The Coasters and Fabian Forte as The Chipmunks, each singing “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Clark sent it out as his Christmas greeting and it was such a hit that Checker scored a recording contract. “The Class” became his first single, charting at No. 38 in the spring of 1959.

During the private recording session, Clark’s wife asked, “What was your name?”

He replied, “Well, my friends call me ‘Chubby.’”

Since he had just done an impersonation of Fats Domino, she smiled and said, “As in ‘Checker?’”

The name got an instant laugh and the alias was born.

Checker is the only recording artist to place five albums in the Top 12 all at once.

The Twist” was his biggest hit and celebrates its 55th anniversary this year.

The single had been previously recorded by Hank Ballard and had peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard rhythm and blues chart in 1959. In September 2008, it topped Billboard’s list of most popular singles to have appeared in the Hot 100 since its debut in 1958, an honor it maintained for an August 2013 update of the list.

Checker’s other hit singles included “The Hucklebuck,” “The Fly,” “Dance the Mess Around,” “Pony Time” and “Limbo Rock.”

Ticket Price

Tickets for the show are $35 plus tax.

For more information, visit Pigeon Forge County Tonite Website at

Where to Stay

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Doug Shanks


By Doug Shanks a Smoky Mountain blogger and writes about things to do in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Wears Valley, and Sevierville, Tennessee. Area interests include hiking, fishing, whitewater rafting, shopping, and family fun.

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