It’s not always easy being Chubby Checker.
In 1960 Ernest Evans, a singer from Philadelphia, recorded a song by the group Hank Ballard and Midnighters. The song was “The Twist”. It sold a zillion copies, made a lot of money for Ernest, the record label, Ballard, Dick Clark (who discovered him) and lots and lots of nightclubs that held “Twist Contests” during the decade of the sixties.
By the time the Beatles came along a few years later, Ernest’s star had stopped shining. In the years that followed he worked as hard as any man in show business, attempting to keep the name Chubby Checker in the spotlight. Although he had a few other minor hits, each involving a dance (“The Fly”, “The Hucklebuck”, “Pony Time”) nothing approached the power of “The Twist” (an estimated 100 million copies sold, worldwide).
More than fifty years later, people still know the name Chubby Checker, although some would be hard pressed to tell you why.
Ernest is in the news again. According to NBC, Chubby is suing Hewlett-Packard for $500 million over a phone App bearing his fake name that markets itself as a way to measure a man’s penis. Yes, it’s called the “Chubby Checker”.
Thanks for ruining that for me.
Chances are Ernest won’t see a dime from his lawsuit. HP has nothing to do with the App. They merely bought the company that makes the Palm WebOS. The version of the Palm that ran the Chubby Checker penis-measuring App was the Palm OS, which is no longer made.
A spokesperson for Hewlett-Packard clarified, “The application was not created by HP or Palm," said HP. "It was removed in September 2012 and is no longer on any Palm or HP hosted web site."
Oh, and by the way, a grand total of 84 downloads of the Chubby Checker were made during the App’s short, third-party life.
It doesn’t sound like $500 million worth of irreparable damage to me, but I’m not a lawyer, and more importantly, I’m not Chubby Checker.
Only Ernest Evans is.
And only he knows how tough that can be.