The Fly

Album: Best Of Chubby Checker (1961)
Charted: 7

Songfacts®:

  • The Philadelphia songwriting/production duo of John Madara and David White wrote this song. Madara explained to Forgotten Hits: "While 'The Twist' was the #1 record in the country, I still had my record shop in West Philadelphia, and after a record hop one evening, I came in the next day to the record shop with an idea to record a song called 'The Fly.' So with our local house band, Carl and The Commanders, we wrote the song and went in and recorded it with Carl's band, and with Carl's lead singer. We went to Cameo and played it for Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann, where we were told that they really loved our record but would like to take our track and put Chubby Checker's voice on it as a follow-up to 'TheTwist.' So Bernie says to us, 'Either let us use your track with Chubby, or if you put out your version, we'll cover you.' So we decided to let Chubby do it. By the way, we never received any production royalties and we are still trying to collect half of our writers' royalties from the co-publisher!"

Comments: 9

  • Rolling Wellman from Wilmington NcChubby is playing in Wilmington, NC this Friday, Jan 31 at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort!!!! Can't wait!
  • Sam from Sherman OaksIf anybody is wondering what that buzzing noise is in this song I believe it was an electric razor that was put in front of a microphone to emulate the sound of a fly hence the title of this song. It makes sense if you think about it.
  • Moanin' Lisa from Chillicothe Mo.I recently inherited my late brother's record collection going back to 1957. I found "The Fly" by Chubby Checker in the collection & it is worn but playable. It brings back memories of 1961. I used to love the dance parties we used to hold with our friends and our cousins. Everyone would dance to Chubby's many dance hits, like this one. Then other dances came along from other vocal groups && artists in '62 and '63. I recall doing the Fly, the Pony, the Bristol Stomp, the Monkey, The Twine, Mashed Potatoes, and the Watusi (or was it the Wah Wah Watusi??). Great times. I just found Chubby Checker's website too. Check it out.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 22nd 1961, Chubby Checker performed "The Fly" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    At the time the song was at #14 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and twenty days later on November 13th, 1961 it would peak #7 {for 1 week} and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    On the same 'Sullivan' he would also perform a medley of "The Twist" and "Let's Twist Again"; earlier in the year on August 7th "Let's Twist Again" peaked at #7 {for 2 weeks} and on January 7th, 1962 "The Twist" would reach #1 for a second time, the first time it peaked at #1 was on September 19th, 1960...
    Mr. Checker, born Ernest Evans, celebrated his 73rd birthday nineteen days ago on October 3rd {2014}.
  • Randy from Fayettevile, ArI saw Chubby Checker at the 2014 Songwriters Awards in New York City. What a star! I saw him earlier in the year in Miami & he rocked the hall. Did all his big million sellers. Incredible performance. The Fly was among his hits performed live. The Twist - Slow Twistin' - The Fly - The Hucklebuck - Twistin' USA - Dance The Mess Around - Let's Twist Again - Dancin' Party - Limbo Rock - Popeye The Hitchhiker - Birdland - and on and on. I read on Billboard's website that Checker has had about 35 top chart hits. Honestly did not know that. Had a fun time at both shows.
  • Rotunda from Tulsa, Ok"The Fly" is a great party song & dance song. I first heard "The Fly" on my Dad's old Chubby Checker albums (a double album titled "Chubby Checker's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 & 2, on Abkco Records from the Seventies). Actually, me & my friends from school are trying to learn all about the rock music of the early Sixties, so we've started with Chubby Checker & also The Four Seasons. But we found Chubby Checker's hits more interesting to learn about because of the dance aspect & all that rhythm. There are a few websites on the Internet about Chubby, but they listed only a few of his hits. I know on his official website his discography lists 37 Top 40 hits. My Dad said he remembers when "The Fly" was popular & featured on Dick Clark's American Bandstand as being a #1 song on their weekly chart. Billboard had it peak on their charts at #7. Dad still has a local rock radio station's chart as a local #1 hit in 1961. Lotta charts in those days, huh? I wanted to know how to do the Fly so Dad taught me. I'm sorry I asked now after seeing how stupid a dance it was, but I guess back in 1961 it was popular. Don't think anyone would catch me doing The Fly nowadays! haaaaa
  • Raunchy from Tulsa, OkThis was a #7 smash hit for Chubby in 1961. Love it. I can still recall watching Dick Clark's American Bandstand on TV and one week Mr. Clark showed their Top Ten Hits and this song was their #1 song. Chubby is still active in touring & was here in my Tulsa area earlier this year. What a performer & entourage! First class rock & roll! I love this hit for its wild, choppy piano and energetic sax breaks in mid-record and at the end. If you don't get up and dance to this record then you're dead! Just this fall I read that ABKCO Records (they bought out Cameo-Parkway Records, Chubby's original labels) released another more recent (and smaller CD of Chubby's earliest monster hits, including this hit record. I bought the CD and it's sound was so great. It didn't say so, but I think ABKCO digitally re-mastered it. And YES---Chubby should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!
  • Bubblesk from Memphis, TnWay back in 1961, I belonged to the National Chubby Checker Fan Club and am still a fan although his fan club broke up years ago. Remembering "The Fly" when it was a huge hit, brings back good memories of high school & old friends. I have a beef with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame not nominating or voting in Chubby Checker for his career & contributions to rock & roll in all this time. There are still a substantial number of early rockers who are ignored by the RRHOF in favor of later rock acts & stars. "The Fly" came out in 1961 and zoomed up the charts and into the national Top Ten & earned a gold record award. It was the same year that Chubby had another huge hit, "Let's Twist Again" that eventually won for Chubby the Best Rock Recording GRAMMY of 1961. And the same year that Chubby had his second Number One hit "Pony Time" also another gold record award. It was just the beginnings of a long line of hits for Chubby Checker. The Songfacts website only shows four of Chubby Checker's hits and that is a shame. Checker had over 30 hits and sold nearly 250 million records so far. That is an achievement by any standard. I seriously believe that Chubby's career drew millions of global fans because other music of the early Sixties was sort of watered-down and too "pop" for the gritty rock & rollers. The dance music of that time provided kids with a big loud beat & raucous music we could dance to. Just recently, ABKCO Record released CD compilations of Checker's original hits from the old Cameo-Parkway Records vaults. It has long been a bitter pill for rock fans of the old Cameo-Parkway Records stars & groups that the company's new bosses ABKCO refused to release CD compilations of these stars so that later generations of rockers would know of the early Sixties music from Philadelphia. But better late than never.
  • Elmer from Westville, OkI remember the teen dance craze era of the Sixties & it sure was a fun time. "The Fly" was a huge chart hit for Chubby Checker in 1961. I bought the 45 rpm single and played it until the grooves were well worn! It was also featured in Chubby Checker's movie, 'Don't Knock The Twist' along with other Checker hits. As for John Madara's interesting background info on "The Fly," it seems that many songwriters of that era were cheated out of their creative work & it's unfortunate that it happened to Madara & White. Over the years, I have heard from music industry sources that the "big shots" at Cameo-Parkway Records of Philadelphia may have cashed in on teen dance crazes like a gold mine, but at the expense of songwriters and recording artists on their label. Greed! It's a real shame that Cameo-Parkway was ruined by such greedy business tactics. I was a big fan of Cameo-Parkway in the Sixties and loved their dance hits.
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