As we celebrate The Weeknd’s 28th week in the top five of the Hot 100, it is worth noting that it pales into insignificance compared with the 23 weeks Chubby Checker performed the same miracle with “The Twist”. R&B guy Hank Ballard wrote and recorded “The Twist” and Chubby (born Ernest Evans) covered it all the way to legendary status with doyens of The Peppermint Lounge (where I caught The Fall many, many years later) and into high society mastering the easy steps and movements.
The spontaneously combustible blast of energy taught the world how to move their hips and the high times were a dead cert in a world in many ways simpler than ours.
Sixty years later and eight songs have bested Chubby, and three songs have equalled the feat. But here is the kicker: none earlier than 2014. Checker’s success is so monumental because of when it happened. In 1960, you bought a single once, it went to that week’s chart, and then patiently awaited a final tally to see if it went gold. That means that if it sold a million that first week, and nothing the next, it dropped off. That isn’t quite what happens in 2020. In 2020 it is mostly about streaming so, which means if every person who bout the album played it just once the following week it would still be at # 1 in 2020.
Chubby Checker remained in the top five with different people PURCHASING the song…. like we did last summer!