Released in several countries as the B-side to their Jingle Bell Rock, a cover of the 1957 Bobby Helms hit, Jingle Bell Imitations originally appeared (as did its flipside) in the US in 1961 on the LP Bobby Rydell/Chubby Checker – a truly awful album whose ‘highlight’ is a seven minute medley featuring the hitmaking pair singing snatches of each other’s chart toppers. Jingle Bell Rock saw a UK release in 1962, with a different track - What Are You Doing New Year's Eve - on the B-side.
Chubby, of course, is well known for his hits The Twist, Let’s Twist Again, The Pony and others. He had form: his first release The Class featured him imitating singers including Elvis, Fats Domino… and Bobby Rydell. Rydell is less well remembered here in the UK, although he scored several major US hits in the early 60s, including the Billboard number two Wild One. Both artists were signed to Cameo Parkway records, the company that put out this tosh, and had appeared on each other’s recording sessions before this album. Both artists, now in their 70s, are still performing today, although Rydell’s poor health has caused him to cut down on his work load in recent years.
In 2013 Chubby sued Hewlett Packard over an app that "adversely affects Chubby Checker's brand and value and if allowed to continue, will cause serious damage to the Plaintiff's goodwill and will tarnish his image that he has worked to maintain over the last 50 years." That app, called the Chubby Checker allowed users to enter a man's shoe size to estimate the size of his penis. Chubby’s lawyer (one Willie Gary…seriously, you could not make this stuff up!) was seeking half a billion dollars in damages.
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