Airdate – Sep 26, 2021
Tonight’s moment in time features one of the great R&B groups who were noted for their dancing and performing – a group that made it onto the Billboard Hot 100 fourteen times in a span of 8 years from 1958 – 1966. Just when you thought you had heard all the dance songs possible, they would come out with another one for you to master.
This Los Angeles-based group was formed in Compton, California in 1956. Originally known as the Challengers, they got their big break thanks to singer/songwriter Jesse Belvin (of “Goodnight My Love” fame) taking an interest in them.
Belvin introduced them to talent agent John Criner and his wife, blues singer Effie Smith. Within three months they had a record deal with Demon Records out of Hollywood and, soon thereafter, debuted on the Billboard charts with a hit record co-written by Fred Smith and Cliff Goldsmith.
This 1958 release was actually a parody of North America’s love affair with TV westerns and included doo wop harmonies along with gunshots and ricochet sound effects. The song became an international hit, making it to the #8 position on the Billboard Hot 100, #7 on the R&B charts and #12 in the UK. This debut release was their most successful. It was titled, “Western Movies.”
The group was the Olympics, a group often considered to be a clone of another popular novelty act, the Coasters. And there is a good case for this – in 1959 the Coasters released their own spin on the western craze with “Along Came Jones.”
In 1959, the Olympics began their love affair with dance tunes, introducing us to “(I Wanna) Dance With The Teacher.” This was followed by “(Baby) Hully Gully,” “Shimmy Like Kate,” and “Dance By The Light Of The Moon” – with all tunes charting in 1960.
The dance craze was upon us as along comes the Twist, the Peppermint Twist, the Watusi, the Hucklebuck, the Mash Potato, the Popeye, the Shing-A-Ling, the Philly, and the Fly to name a few.
By 1963 many were asking what else they could do with their bodies on the dance floor. Well the Olympics came out with yet another dance song in April of 1963. Amazingly, the release went Top 40. It may remind you of some of Ray Charles’ recordings.
Rarely heard today its title is associated with a hip expression used to signify it’s time to leave. So as we end this session, let’s follow the Olympics’ lead as it is time to “Bounce,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
For a YouTube video of this song click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmixVZkszhY