Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1964 The Premiers – Farmer John

1964 The Premiers – Farmer John

Don Harris and Dewey Terry formed the group Don and Dewey and wrote and recorded a series of records beginning in 1957. While they never had any hit records of their own, a number of their songs were later covered and turned into hits by other artists. Their non-hits included I’m Leaving It Up to You (later a number one hit for Dale and Grace), The Letter (covered by Caesar and Cleo, who became Sonny and Cher), and Big Boy Pete (which was covered by the Olympics and turned into Jolly Green Giant by the Kingsmen). The pair also wrote and recorded the original version of Farmer John, first as a slow song and then as a faster single.

Lawrence and John Perez, and their neighbors, George Delgado and Frank Zuniga, formed the Premieres in 1962 in Los Angeles County. They practiced in the Perez backyard and began attracting crowds who came to listen. Billy Cardenas managed several other Chicano groups in their area and helped them get work backing other musicians, including Chris Montez. Billy suggested the group record Farmer John since it had a garage band sound similar to the Kingsmen hit Louie Louie.

The group recorded the song at Stereo Masters Studios, a small studio in Hollywood. They invited some girls who were members of the all-girl Chevelles car club to the recording. After the band laid down the musical tracks, the girls made audience sounds that were overdubbed onto the recording. The result sounded live.

Eddie Davis helped produce the single and released it on his own record label, Faro Records. When the record began to attract attention, Warner Brothers Records licensed the single and released it nationally. The single peaked at #19 on the Hot 100 in 1964. The group toured the US to promote the record. The band even performed their hit on American Bandstand. Thanks to the British Invasion, the Premiers became one of the opening acts for tours that included The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and The Dave Clark Five.

After they spent the Summer touring, the group recorded an album of similar R&B songs, but they never reached the Hot 100 again. Two members of the group were drafted in the late sixties, and the group disbanded.

Lawrence, John, and George reformed the Premiers in 2001. The group performed at shows and even created some new recordings.


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