Album:Top Hits of the Sixties: Amazing Hits
Sugar Shack topped the charts for five weeks in 1963. It might seem like a one hit wonder. But The Fireballs had a long history and they even scored another top ten hit with Bottle Of Wine in 1967. The Fireballs were the house band for Norman Petty in Clovis, NM. Of course as many fans are aware, this is where Buddy Holly recorded all his hits. The Fireballs recorded their own records and would back up other acts. They got the name from the Jerry Lee Lewis hit Great Balls Of Fire. The original 1958 lineup was Chuck Tharp on lead vocals, George Tomsco on lead guitar, Dan Trammell on rhythm guitar, Stan Lark on bass and Eric Budd on bass. They charted with Torquay and Bulldog in 1959 and Quite A Party in 1961. Then Tharp, Trammell and Budd left The Fireballs. They were replaced by Jimmy Gilmer on piano and vocals and Doug Roberts on drums. Gilmer was already working at Petty as a studio musician and he had released a single on Decca in 1959. Petty signed The Fireballs to Dot Records. Sugar Shack was the first single released as Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs. It topped the charts for five weeks in 1963. The song was written by Keith McCormack of The String-A-Longs who had success recording for Petty. The catchy organ riff was played on a Hammond Solovox. Petty would release some records as Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs, some as The Fireballs and even some as just Jimmy Gilmer. But they were all recorded by The Fireballs. Most of their singles didn't chart except for the 1963 top 20 hit Daisy Petal Pickin'. Sugar Shack is still a memorable song and you can get it on this various artists comp from Collectables. And Ace Records has released The Fireballs recordings through a deal with Petty's estate. Of course like a lot of bands, The Fireballs were killed by the British Invasion. They returned to the charts with the 1968 top ten cover of Tom Paxton's Bottle Of Wine on Atco Records. By this time, Gilmer had left The Fireballs to become a producer in Nashville. The Fireballs are still around led by Tomsco and Gilmer. Sugar Shack has had a long life. Here's Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs performing Sugar Shack 1968.