Originally known as Walter Ward and the Challengers, the Olympics, at various times, comprised of:
Walter Ward (b. 28th August 1940, Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.A. d. 11th December 2006, Northridge, California, U.S.A. - lead)
Eddie Lewis (b. 1937, Houston, Texas, U.S.A. - tenor)
Charles Fizer (b. 1940, Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.A., d. 13th August 1965, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. - baritone)
Melvin King (b. 1940, U.S.A. - bass)
Kenny Sinclair (d. March 2003, U.S.A. - tenor)
William DeVase (d. May 2009, U.S.A. - bass)
Mack Starr (d. June 1981, U.S.A. - tenor)
Walter Hammond (baritone)
Formed in 1957, The Olympics were a doo-wop group.
Walter Ward, Charles Fizer, Walter Hammond and Melvin King were all friends who attended high school in Los Angeles.
Eddie Lewis hailed from Texas.
Recording under the name ‘The Challengers’ (members: Walter Ward, Eddie Lewis, Marcus Banks, Charles Fizer and Walter Hammond), they released the single ‘I Can Tell’ b/w ‘The Mambo Beat’ for the Melatone Records imprint.
western movies b/w well! - 1958 / (baby) hully gully b/w private eye - 1959
In 1958, the group changed their name to The Olympics, releasing ‘Western Movies’ b/w ‘Well!’ for the Demon Records label.
The song was co-written by Fred Smith and Cliff Goldsmith, and it reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The group switched labels from Demon to the Arvee Records imprint in 1959.
That year, the Olympics recorded ‘(Baby) Hully Gully’ b/w ‘Private Eye’, a song which started a dance craze.
In 1960, they released ‘Big Boy Pete’ b/w ‘The Slop’, which provided the format for The Kingsmen’s song ‘Jolly Green Giant’.”
‘Big Boy Pete’ was originally recorded in 1959 by Don & Dewey.
doin' the hully gully - 1960 / party time - 1961 / dance by the light of the moon - 1961 / do the bounce - 1963
The Olympics recorded several singles which were ‘dance craze’ themed, including ‘The Chicken’, ‘The Stomp’, ‘The Scotch’ and ‘The Bounce’.
In 1966, The Rascals covered The Olympics song, ‘Good Lovin’ b/w ‘Olympic Shuffle’ from 1965.
something old, something new - 1966 / living the american dream - 1987
The Olympics recorded for several labels in their career, which include Demon, Arvee, Tri Disc, Zee, Loma, Mirwood, Parkway, Jubilee and warner Brothers Records.
Charles Fizer was shot and killed during the Watts Riots in 1965, at the age of 24.
Melvin King then left the group when his sister died in a shooting.
A version of the Olympics continued up until the Seventies.
olympics in 2000: l to r: eddie lewis, william devase, walter ward and kenny sinclair
They continue to perform on the oldies circuit all round the World.
Doin' The Hully Gully (Arvee Records 1960)
Party Time (Arvee Records 1961)
Dance By The Light Of The Moon (Arvee Records 1961)
Do The Bounce (Tri-Disc Records 1963)
Something Old Something New (Mirwood Records 1966)
Soul Music (Mirwood Records 1968)
Living The American Dream (Bouvier Records 1987)