We interrupt this cavalcade of science fact and fiction articles to bring you…some pop culture.
Seven years ago, The Crows came out with Gee, what is now generally recognized to have been the first “rock ‘n’ roll” song. It was a revolution–within months, the crooners and the overripe schmaltzy swing tunes were swept aside in favor of the new mode. Well, at least on the Black stations. Then Elvis and Pat Boone came along and made this scary new music safe for everyone else.
This year, it appears Chubby Checker has sparked a similar, related revolution. With a simple, catchy rock ‘n’ roll tune, The Twist, he appears to have single-handedly invented solo dancing.
Think about it: for centuries, from the Estampie to the Waltz to the Cha Cha Cha, dancing has been something you do with partners. Now, with The Twist, you can shrug all by your lonesome–or with hundreds of friends. There’s no denying its popularity. Checker’s song is at the top of the charts this week (displacing Elvis’ short-lived tenure, thankfully), and if you caught his performance on American Bandstand the other day, you were probably tempted to join in the fun. There may not be a jukebox in America what doesn’t have, at any given hour, several teens around it Twisting the night away.
I only hope that Checker, a promising nightclub player with a talent for mimicry (check out last Christmas’ surprise hit, The Class), doesn’t get pigeon-holed, doomed to release dance number after dance number to stay afloat.
I suppose it is better to have one hit than none.