The Swinging Blue Jeans are a veteran British Merseybeat band from Liverpool with an ever-changing lineup that became famous during the mid 1960s. The band's origins date back to 1957 when singer/guitarist Bruce McCaskill formed a skiffle group known as The Bluegenes. By 1962, after a number of personnel changes, the band had become known as The Swinging Blue Jeans, with a switch-over to rock and roll, and had landed its first recording contract with HMV. At that time, The Swinging Blue Jeans were a quintet consisting of bassist/keyboardist Les Braid (September 15, 1937 - July 31, 2005), guitarist Ralph Ellis, singer/guitarist Ray Ennis, drummer Norman Kuhlke, and banjo player Paul Moss. In 1963, the band had its first hit on the U.K. charts with the Ennis-penned "It's Too Late Now," which made the Top 30. By the end of that year, Moss has left The Swinging Blue Jeans and the band had released its cover of "Hippy Hippy Shake," a late 1950s rock and roll dance tune written and previously recorded by Chan Romero, which peaked at #2 on the U.K. charts and became the band's best known song.
As one of a number of top British Invasion acts of the early-mid 1960s, The Swinging Blue Jeans made their debut in 1964 on the U.S. Pop/Rock charts with "Hippy Hippy Shake," which became a Top 40 hit. This smash was followed later that year by covers of Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly" and Betty Everett's "You're No Good" (which later topped the charts for Linda Ronstadt in 1975). The Swinging Blue Jeans final chart entry came in 1966 with their rendition of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David-penned "Don't Make Me Over."
The Swinging Blue Jeans have continued to perform over the years to the present day, with no original members remaining in the current lineup. Ray Ennis, who announced his official retirement in 2010, also makes occasional appearances with another band known as Ray Ennis's Blue Jeans.
- For more info about The Swinging Blue Jeans and current projects, visit swingingbluejeans.co.uk.
- The Guardian remembers original Swinging Blue Jeans member Les Braid.
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The Swinging Blue Jeans
- Hippy Hippy Shake 1964
(This song later also became a hit for the Georgia Satellites (1988).)
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