60s Music

One-hit wonder The Jamies of “Summertime, Summertime” fame

The JamiesA short introduction to The Jamies

1950s group The Jamies are known for their only major hit, “Summertime, Summertime.” The group were based in New York, and were essentially a vocal band of the “doo-woop” forte. The follow-up single “Snow Train” failed to chart. In an attempt to make things better for them, the group moved to United Artists had some lineup changes. However, none of those moves worked, and so the group switched to releasing “Summertime, Summertime” again which momentarily made a comeback on the charts. The snappy tune became so famous that it overshadowed the band who first popularized it. It was re-recorded several times by other artists and even used as a promotional jingle by Buick and Applebee restaurants, among other commercial enterprises.

Who are The Jamies?

One-hit wonders The Jamies were a 1950s vocal group, led by Thomas Earl “Tom” Jameson and his sister Serena. Other members of the group include Jeannie Roy, Arthur Blair, and Sherman Feller. The doo-wop/pop group, formed in New York, produced a novelty song that would be their only hit and a classic tune: “Summertime, Summertime.”

 

The Jamies’ only hit with “Summertime, Summertime”

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“Summertime, Summertime” was written by Tom Jameson and fellow member Feller. Tom’s sister Serena sang the lead vocals. The song is bouncy, light, and really snappy. If you don’t find the opening lines, “Summertime, summertime/sum, sum, summertime” hanging in your head then I don’t know what is. The track features a lilting harpsichord, adding to its lively atmosphere. Serena’s high, girlish lead vocals further evoke of the song’s joy, innocence and carefree youthfulness. When school is over the and summer holiday begins, this is certainly the summery staple.

“Summertime, Summertime” was released on Epic Records in 1958. It later paced the Billboard Hot 100, finally peaking at #26.

Failing singles

However, the follow-up single “Snow Train” failed to make an impression among listeners. In hopes of finding some antidote for their lackluster performance on the charts, the group moved to United Artists and underwent changes in their lineup. Robert Paloucci became a member for a time, then he quit to become a monk. However, he eventually left the monastery and got a new job as a translator.

None of these moves worked for the Jamies. Another follow-up single “Don’t Darken My Door” (b/w “Evening Star”) failed to chart as well. So the group resorted to re-issue “Summertime, Summertime” in 1962; this time the single peaked at #38 on the Hot 100.

“Summertime, Summertime”‘s lasting fame

When the band’s momentary fame faded for good, their song “Summertime, Summertime” otherwise has slowly gained a respectable reputation over the years since its original release. Its fame even far better shadowed the band’s.

“Summertime, Summertime” has been covered by several artists including The Fortunes, the Doodletown Pipers, Hobby Horse, Jan & Dean, Mongo Jerry, The Legendary Masked Surfers and Sha Na Na. The song even has commercial potential in the true sense of the word, as it was used in TV ads for Buick, Applebee’s, and Ken-L Ration Burger Time Dog Food. You can hear “Summertime, Summertime” too in the 1978 movieFingers.

Sherman was also radio announcer, and after The Jamies he worked as an announcer for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park for 26 years; he died in 1994. Tom Jameson lost his struggle with cancer in 2009, aged 72.

 

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