Bruce McCaskill formed the Bluegenes in 1957 but left the group in 1959. The group initially focused on playing jazz-influenced skiffle music, but changed members and focus after being booed off the stage in Hamburg. The group began playing rock & roll. They also changed their name slightly, becoming the Swinging Blue Jeans.
Chan Romero was born in Montana in 1941. He was only 17-years-old when he wrote Hippy Hippy Shake. Chan’s single was released in the US in 1959 but failed to chart. The record did, however, reach #3 on the Australian music charts. All the versions that followed his original single were little more than direct covers of the song.
Paul McCartney heard the song when it was released in the UK, and the Beatles began performing the song in their shows in clubs in London and Germany. A recording made at the Star Club in Hamburg in 1962 survived and has been remastered. The Beatles also played the song in 1963 on a BBC broadcast, but they never released a studio recording of the song.
In late 1963, The Swinging Blue Jeans released their version of The Hippy Hippy Shake. The single was an international hit, reaching #2 on the UK chart and #24 on the US Hot 100. The group had a few more hits in the UK but didn’t enter the top forty again in the US.
One last version of the song charted in the US when The Georgia Satellites released their version in 1988. The single peaked at #45 on the Hot 100 and #13 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.
A great deal of turnover in the group followed when their records stopped charting. Terry Sylvester sang and played guitar in the group from 1966 to 1968 before leaving to replace Graham Nash in the Hollies.
Two different groups performed for years following different original members of the group. Alan Lovell joined the group as a guitar player in 1981 and had the foresight to file for ownership of the group’s name. Alan no longer appears in performances, but he supervises his group. They are still active at the present time even though no original members of the Swinging Blue Jeans are still in his group.
The vocalist who sang lead on their hits formed the second group. They appeared for a time as Ray Ennis’s Blue Jeans after their lawsuits over the other group’s name failed.
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