Chubby Checker’s Chequered! is a key artifact to understanding my fascination with esoteric pop culture moments that live on the fringe of the entertainment business.
Chequered! was Chubby Checker’s unreleased Psychedelic Album from the 70s.
The first time someone told me about it, they mine as well have been telling me about the legend of Robert Johnson.
The story I heard was that Checker was listening to a ton of Jimi Hendrix and Arthur Lee, and wanted to update his sound and image to reflect the changing times. American record labels, however, did not agree with his proposed image makeover, and he was forced to take his ideas overseas. Checker then traveled to Norway, recruited a bunch of psychedelic studio musicians, and laid down his jams.
The thought of the clean cut Chubby Checker, who had spent the better part of a decade exploiting “The Twist,” finding himself exiled overseas and letting his freak flag fly was gold to me. The fact the record was never officially released in America made it a unicorn record. The album has since been officially re-issued.
A more elegant and accurate account of Chequered! can be found here.
Check out two of the more catchy and endearing gems from the Chequered one.
Goodbye Victoria – Chubby Checker
Love Tunnel – Chubby Checker