Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs - Wooly Bully

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Bad sync but what the hell... everything was out of sync in the 60s :)

"Wooly Bully" is a popular song originally recorded by novelty rock 'n' roll band Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs in 1965. Based on a standard 12-bar blues progression, it was written by the band's leader, Domingo "Sam" Samudio. It was released as a single on the Memphis-based Pen label and distributed via MGM. 

"Wooly Bully" was the band's first and biggest hit. It became a worldwide sensation, selling three million copies and reaching No. 2 on the American Hot 100 chart on June 5, 1965, kept off the top by The Beach Boys's "Help Me, Rhonda". It was the first American record to sell a million copies during the British Invasion and was influenced by the British rock sound which was mixed with traditional Spanish-American conjunto rhythms. It stayed in the Hot 100 for a then-impressive 18 weeks, and was nominated for a Grammy Award. It was also named Billboard's "Number One Record of the Year" despite never reaching No. 1; this feat was achieved again with Faith Hill's "Breathe" in 2000. 

As the Pharaohs prepared to write their debut album, lead singer "Sam the Sham" (Domingo Samudio) wanted to write a tribute to the Hully Gully dance. His record label's legal department feared using that title due to the existence of another song with a similar title. The song was given the green light after Sam rewrote the lyrics and replaced "Hully Gully" with "Wooly Bully". 

The lyrics of "Wooly Bully" were hard to understand, and some radio stations banned the song. The lyrics describe a conversation between "Hattie" and "Matty" concerning the American Bison and the desirability of developing dancing skills. The warning, "Let's not be L-7's", means "Let's not be squares", from the shape formed by the fingers making an L on one hand and a 7 on the other. Sam the Sham underscores the Tex-Mex nature of the song by counting out the rhythm in Spanish and English, and the characteristic simple organ riffing. According to Sam: "The name of my cat was 'Wooly Bully', so I started from there. The count down part of the song was also not planned. I was just goofing around and counted off in Tex-Mex. It just blew everybody away, and actually, I wanted it taken off the record. We did three takes, all of them different, and they took the first take and released it."


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Artist: Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
Video title: Wooly Bully
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