Chubby Checker tops big names honored at Expo awards

Still doing “The Twist” after all these years, legendary rocker Chubby Checker, who turned 77 on Oct. 3, was named Casino Entertainer of the Year at the sixth annual Casino Entertainment Awards (CEA), presented at the just-concluded Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

Checker (real name: Ernest Evans), who returns to Las Vegas Nov. 23-25 at the South Point Hotel-Casino, recorded “The Twist” in 1960 as a cover version of the 1959 original by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. But while Ballard’s interpretation was only a modest hit, peaking at No. 28 on Billboard’s Hot 100, Checker’s exuberant take on it rocketed to No. 1 and launched The Twist dance craze.

Chubby Checker at the Sands, 1962

Chubby Checker twists with a young partner during a show at the Sands on Sept. 21, 1962. (Las Vegas News Bureau)

Since then, the song has made history: It was named to Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list; in 2013, it was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress; in 2014, Billboard declared it “the biggest hit” of the 1960s; in 2018, “The Twist” was inducted as a single into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and it is the subject of the book, The Twist: The Story of the Song and Dance That Changed the World.

In addition to Checker, award winners at CEA also included: Bill Engvall as Casino Comedian of the Year; Legends in Concert as Casino Production Show of the Year; Monica Reeves, director of entertainment for Station Casinos, as Casino Entertainment Executive of the Year; and The Righteous Brothers and nightclub impresario Victor Drai, who won the Casino Entertainment Legend awards.


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