The Vibrations – Watusi
A five-man group called the Jayhawks had a minor hit in 1956 with a song one of the member co-wrote, Stranded In The Jungle. Their version only reached #18, while a cover version by the Cadets reached #15 (see Lost Or Forgotten Oldies Volume 3 for details). The Jayhawks had a few lineup changes over the next few years.
Hank Ballard wrote Lets Go Lets Go Lets Go and recorded it with his group, The Midnighters. Their single reached #6 on the Hot 100 and topped the R&B chart in 1960. The Jayhawks recorded a song that used the same melody (without attribution) and released the single Watusi in 1961, changing their name to The Vibrations. Their single only reached #25 in March. It would be another year before the Orlons released Wah-Watusi and the dance caught fire.
The Olympics recorded a song written by Fred Sledge Smith and Clifford Goldsmith, Hully Gully Baby. The record did not fare too well, peaking at only #72 on the Hot 100 in early 1960, but it spawned a dance craze. Songwriters Hidle Brown Barnum and Martin Cooper wrote new lyrics for the song, which the Vibrations recorded and released with yet another band name, the Marathons. Their single of Peanut Butter reached #20 in June 1961.
The Vibrations had one more brush with success in 1964 when they recorded My Girl Sloopy. Their single only reached #26, but a cover version by the McCoys that was renamed Hang On Sloopy topped the Hot 100 in 1965.
The group’s last album was released in Germany in 1973 and included a cover of the Allman Brothers song Midnight Rider.
The Vibrations split up and reformed a few times before calling it quits in 1976.
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