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Chubby Checker’s Lost ‘Dig Dug’ Anthem Unearthed

Chubby Checker
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Chubby Checker and computer technology just can’t seem to get along. Decades before the ‘Twist’ singer sued the makers of an app that used his name as a euphemism for measuring genitalia, it turns out he was jobbed out of his chance to become an arcade music legend.

Arcade Sushi reports on the recent discovery of a cassette containing a song Checker recorded for a commercial promoting Atari’s home version of the hit video game ‘Dig Dug.’ Recorded in 1982, it was rejected by the company for unknown reasons, and remained lost until being (ahem) dug up by Matt Osborne, son of a former Atari exec who was with the company at the time the ad campaign was being developed.

Guessing that the company may have passed over Checker because they believed he “appealed to a much older audience and not the one that the commercial was targeted towards,” Osborne recalled, “The only info that I have about it was that Atari had envisioned a somewhat ‘50’s-styled take on the song, inspired, in part, by Chubby Checker’s hit ‘The Twist.’ At the time that I’d heard the song and had got possession of the tape, it was fully intended that Chubby’s song would be used in the final commercial. It’s been over 30 years, that and I was about 13 at the time, so details are fuzzy, but I remember my father being extra excited that Chubby was involved in the project and had great things to say about having met him.”

You can listen to Chubby Checker’s ‘Dig Dug’ below, and check out the final version of the commercial over at Arcade Sushi. Alas, Chubby never got his shot at becoming the next Buckner & Garcia — perhaps if he had, it might have given him that extra cred with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame he’s been looking for.

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