Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Chubby Checker

Music History Monday: Day Gigs

“Don’t give up your day gig.” Along with “don’t eat yellow snow” and “fake it ‘til you make it”, “don’t give up your day gig” remains one of the oldest, hoariest, clichéd pieces of advice anyone can give or receive. But unless you were lucky/wise enough to heed the other greatest piece of advice any musician can receive, that being “marry rich”, “don’t give up your day gig” is still among the very best pieces of advice a musician can receive. Very few of us get our dream job right out of school; hell, very few of us ever get our dream job. All too rapidly, reality intrudes on youthful artistic idealism and no matter how much one wants to compose, or play violin, or sing, unless we can find someone willing to pay us to do so, we must all do something to make money. And then, as we get older and develop a taste for the finer things in life – like feeding, clothing, and housing our children – our day gigs become not just a matter of survival for ourselves but for those around us. Now, here and there and every now and then, someone gets very […]

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Music History Monday: Chubby Checker, Dick Clark, and the Power of the Tube!

On this day 58 years ago – August 6, 1960 – the 18 year-old singer and dancer Chubby Checker performed The Twist on American TV for the first time on the rock ‘n’ roll variety show American Bandstand. For reasons we will discuss, American Bandstand was, both artistically and socially, one of the most important programs ever broadcast on television. It aired for an incredible 37 seasons, from October 7, 1952 (when Harry Truman was President of the United States) until October 7, 1989 (three years before the election of Bill Clinton). (In case you were wondering, the longest-running television show of any kind, anywhere, is NBC’s Meet the Press, which made its debut on November 6, 1947; it has run continuously for 70 years and 9 months!) In its 37-year run, some 3000 episodes of American Bandstand were produced.  From 1952 until 1964, the showwasfilmed in Philadelphia at the studios of WFIL, the local ABC affiliate. (That would have been channel 6; having grown up in South Jersey watching Philadelphia TV, it was one of the three network channels we received, along with WCAU – channel 10, which was then the CBS affiliate – and KYW, channel 3, which was […]

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