My Baby Loves the Western Movies

Their first record was credited to Walter Ward and the Challengers (“I Can Tell” on Melatone Records). After the name change, they recorded “Western Movies” (Demon Records) in the summer of 1958. Co-written by Fred Smith and Cliff Goldsmith, “Western Movies” made it to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Thesong reflected the nation’s preoccupation with western themedmovies and television programs. It told the story of a man who lost his girl to TVwesterns, and it included doo-wopharmonies as well as backgroundgunshots and ricocht sound effects.

In 1959, the group recorded “(Baby) Hully Gully,” which initiated the hully gullydance craze. “Big Boy Pete,” which the group released in 1960, served as inspiration for The Kingsmen’s “The Jolly Green Giant”. Over the next ten years The Olympics recorded upbeatR&B songs, often about dances popular at the time.

In 1966 The Young Rascals covered The Olympics 1965 song, “Good Lovin'”, and took it to #1 on the US Hot 100. Since then, many recorded versions have been made by prominent artists, includingThe Who, The Grateful Dead, and Bobby McFerrin.

Fizer was shot and killed during theWatts Riots in 1965. Shortly thereafter, King left the group after his sister died in an accidental shooting.[citation needed] A revamped group continued to record into the early 1970s but were unable to attain popular chart success after the mid 1960s. The Olympics continued to perform on the oldies circuit in theUnited States and other countries.

Walter Ward’s song “Well (Baby please don’t go)” (the b-side to “Western Movies”) was recorded twice by John Lennon in 1971: the February 1971 studio recording was not issued until the 1998 John Lennon Anthology, then again on Wonsaponatime. A June 1971 live recording with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention was issued on 1972’s Some Time In New York City, and on Zappa’s 1992’s Playground Psychotics.

Eddie Lewis, tenor singer and last original member of the Olympics, died on May 31, 2017. Current and remaining members of The Olympics are Vel Omarr, Alphonso Boyd, and Samuel E. Caesar.

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