I’m not sure if anyone would argue that the dance craze that was popular in the early Sixties was started by or at least fueled by Chubby Checker. His first hit, “The Twist” got us out on the dance floor and now, he keeps us dancing with another dance called “The Pony.” Between those two songs, he released “The Hucklebuck,” another dance song and he would continue to release dance songs for the next year or so.
“Pony Time,” like “The Twist” before it, was a cover of someone else’s song. The song was originally written by Don Covey and John Berry. They recorded it in 1960 as members of the group The Goodtimers. Chubby Checker recorded the song and his version and the Goodtimers version both hit the pop chart on the same week. Because of Chubby’s fame, he hit number one while the Goodtimers only made it to number 60.
As I mentioned in 1950, Chubby’s real name is Ernest Evans and he was born in 1941 in South Carolina. When he was just a small child, the family moved to Philadelphia. He knew from the age of five that he wanted to sing. He started out by imitating other singers and gradually found his own sound and style. He could play the drums and the piano. During high school , he worked for a local poultry market where he was a chicken plucker. While he plucked, he would sing. Finally, someone heard him sing and asked him if he would like to audition for a local Philadelphia record label called Cameo-Parkway Records. Thus began his career.
I mentioned before that he got his big break when he appeared on American Bandstand and his career was on its way. In 1964, Chubby married Catharina Lodders, a Dutch beauty queen. They have three children and are happily married to this day.
“Pony Time” debuted on the pop chart on January 30, 1961 and spent three weeks at number one.
This is not a good video, but I include it because it shows how to do the Pony and it shows the kids dancing to it, which was the whole point. The song is cut off at the end, missing about 30 seconds. If you want the whole song, just search for “Pony Time” on YouTube, it’s easy to find.