The Swingin' Medallions
|The Swingin' Medallions|
|Origin||Greenwood, South Carolina|
|Genres||Beach, rock, pop|
|Associated acts||The Tassles, Pieces of Eight|
The band was formed as The Medallions in 1962 adding the "Swingin'" in 1965; possibly as a tribute to the Swingin' Travelers, an R&B group popular in South Carolina in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1967, Brent Fortson and Steve Caldwell left the band and with six members of The Tassles out of North Carolina formed the Pieces of Eight. Johnny Cox and Hack Bartley replaced the two at saxophones.
Their first single, "I Wanna Be Your Guy", was inadvertently released under the name, "Swinging Medallions" instead of "Swingin' Medallions. It did not chart, but the second, "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)", written by Don Smith & Cyril Vetter and originally recorded by Dick Holler & the Holidays, reached #17 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1966, and propelled their full-length album to #88 on the Billboard 200. It was recorded at the Arthur Smith Studios in Charlotte, North Carolina. WIST radio jock Tom Gauger was called in to re-mix for release on Smash. The follow-up single "She Drives Me Out of My Mind", hit #71, but the fourth single, "Hey Baby", did not chart. The band continued to be popular in the American South.
In the mid 1960s they frequently played at the Oporto Armory in Birmingham, Alabama. In Birmingham most of their songs got airplay on WSGN (AM 610) and WVOK (AM 690), including, "I Found A Rainbow", "M.T.Y.L.T.T", "You Gotta Have Faith" as well as the songs mentioned above. The band was also a popular attraction in Panama City Beach, Florida and Auburn University.
The band (with a shifting cast) continues to do reunion shows into the 2000s. On September 16, 2009, the band joined Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band during their concert at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, South Carolina for a performance of "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)". One alumni of the group, drummer Michael Huey, went on to become the staff drummer for The Bill Lowery Studios in Atlanta playing on hit records for The Winstons, Sami Jo; Johnny Nash; Joe South; Frankie Miller; Allen Toussaint. Huey moved to Los Angeles in 1976 playing on numerous hit records and tours with Walter Egan ('Magnet & Steel'); Juice Newton; Glenn Frey (Eagles); Joe Walsh; Etta James; Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac); Michael Martin Murphy; Johnny Lee; 'Miami Vice' television series ('Smuggler's Blues' and 'You Belong To The City'), among others.
- John McElrath - keyboards
- Jim Doares - guitar
- Carroll Bledsoe - trumpet
- Charles Webber - trumpet
- Brent Forston - saxophone, flute
- Steven Caldwell - saxophone
- James Perkins - bass guitar
- Joe Morris - drums
- Irven Hicks - drums
- Richard (Mark) Wrenn - drums
- Ken Johnson - keyboards
- Mark DeJohn - drums