The band was formed in 1962 in San Gabriel, California, by brothers Lawrence Perez (guitar) and John Perez (drums), and neighbours George Delgado (guitar) and Frank Zuniga (bass). They practiced in the Perez brothers back yard, encouraged by their mother, and soon started drawing crowds to their rehearsals. They were discovered by Billy Cardenas, who managed and produced other Chicano bands in the East Los Angeles area and won the group slots supporting artists such as Johnny "Guitar" Watson and Chris Montez.
Following The Kingsmen’s success with "Louie Louie", Cardenas suggested that the Premiers cover a similar song, "Farmer John", which had been written and recorded by Don and Dewey. Although claimed to have been recorded "live at the Rhythm Room in Fullerton, California", it was actually recorded in a small studio in Hollywood, with overdubbed party noises provided by girls of the Chevelles car club invited to the studio. The vocals were performed by John Perez and George Delgado singing in unison.
Released on co-producer Eddie Davis’ Faro record label, and later licensed by Warner Bros. Records, the single rose to No. 19 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in summer 1964. The group were then rushed into recording an album, Farmer John Live, which consisted mainly of R&B cover versions, again with overdubbed party noises. They also toured nationally with artists such as The Crystals and Gene Pitney, and opened for such groups as The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Dave Clark Five.
The group recorded several more singles up to 1967, some co-produced by Larry Tamblyn of The Standells, but none were commercially successful. First Zuniga and then Lawrence Perez were drafted, and the band split up by the end of the decade.
The Premiers' "Farmer John" was featured on the compilation album, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968, issued in 1972; according to the album's original liner notes, it was the only song from 1964 to be included on the album.
In 2001, The Premiers reformed with the Perez brothers and George Delgado from the original line-up, to play occasional concerts and record.
- Farmer John Live (1964)
- "Farmer John" / "Duffy's Blues" (1964)
- "Annie Oakley" / "Blues for Arlene" (1964)
- "So Fine" / "Little Irene" (1964)
- "I'm in Love With Your Daughter (Part 1) / I'm in Love With Your Daughter (Part 2) (1965)
- "Get Your Baby" / "Little Ways" (1965)
- "Come On and Dance" / "Get on the Plane" (1966)
- "Ring Around My Rosie (Part 1)" / "Ring Around My Rosie (Part 2)" (1967)
- Article by Mark Guerrero, based on interviews with band members
- Richie Unterberger - The Premiers article