Who was/is The Olympics ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
Big Boy Pete
One of The Coasters' few serious rivals when it came to the humorous side of rock and roll, The Olympics were scoring as many hits as their role models. Fred Smith and Cliff Goldsmith, their producers from back when they were on Demon Records and assaulting the charts with Western Movies (it's on our '58 collection), brought the Los Angeles-based Olympics to another local label, Richard Vaughn's Arvee Records, and kept on making hits. Walter Ward's gritty leads were backed by tenor Eddie Lewis, baritone Charles Fizer, and bass Melvin King.
Smith (the son of singer/Olympics manager Effie Smith) and Goldsmith, fast earning an enviable reputation as hitmakers on the L.A. studio scene, were primarily in charge of writing fresh material for The Olympics; they'd given them Western Movies and (Baby) Hully Gully. Another of their originals, The Slop, sat on the B-side of this single and could have ignited another dance craze. But it was eclipsed by Big Boy Pete, a cover of a '59 single that slipped through the cracks by Don (Harris) & Dewey (Terry), one of the wildest rock and roll duos on the L.A. scene.
Instead of Ward's instantly identifiable pipes, The Olympics' revival of Big Boy Pete featured Lewis and Fizer on a dual lead, just like Don & Dewey. The violence depicted in this epic tale of a vicious encounter between Pete and archrival Bad Man Brown didn't scare off radio programmers or young record buyers; Big Boy Pete clawed its way to #10 R&B and #50 pop in mid-1960.
The Olympics would continue to rack up hits throughout the year, transforming the ancient Shimmy Like Kate and Dance By The Light Of The Moon into up-to-date rock and roll. Big Boy Pete found new life when The Kingsmen of Louie Louie fame put decidedly inferior lyrics to its melody and had a 1965 hit with their silly ode to a frozen vegetable company's mascot, The Jolly Green Giant. Arvee tried to cash in by releasing The Olympics' Big Boy Pete '65, actually the undoctored original.
Various - Street Corner Symphonies 1960 Vol.12
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