IN THE SUMMERTIME * 50 YEARS OLD *
To celebrate 50 years of In The Summertime, released on the 22nd of May, 1970, we decided to record the thoughts and memories of fans all over the world with their words and pictures, some ‘borrowed’ from the various social media outlets.
Ray received a bunch of flowers from Pete Townsend and we also have a message from Eddy Grant (The Equals), a big pal of Ray’s from way back.
“In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of In The Summertime, I got out my Mungo Jerry collection and will be playing them all, over the next few days.
Kevin’s Mungo Jerry FACEBOOK page.
“1970, What a year for the three amigos who operate in the background to promote all things Mungo Jerry. We are avid followers of football and 1970 was special for all three of us.
“My team Everton were crowned champions of England with a style of football that was described as being from the school of science.
“Alan Taylor had seen his beloved Chelsea win the FA Cup by beating Leeds United in a memorable and historic cup final replay at Old Trafford.
“Over in Ireland, Mick O’Hanlon and in the words of Mick – 1970 was a great year for Bohemian F.C of Dublin. ‘We won the FAI cup after two replays against Sligo Rovers’.
“Then in June 1970 the then unknown Mungo Jerry hit the number one spot in the UK and the rest of the world with a single that transcended a lot of boundaries in its style. Was it pop, rock, country, folk or any other of a number of genres that you could or couldn’t stamp a label on.
“In The Summertime has in the fifty years since that initial release become a mainstay of commercial music, gaining airplay every year as soon as the first daffodils of spring sprout up, and gaining momentum onwards and upwards the higher sun gets in the sky throughout summer.
“The fact that it does this every year means it will never go away it will always be there as a song in your head that on hearing the first few bars will put a smile on your face and an extra beat in your heart.
“1970 what a year”.
“As I’ve said before, it was really Baby Jump that got me into Mungo Jerry in a big way. I, along with literally millions of others loved In The Summertime, and still do, playing it regularly 50 years on.
“I recall painting Ray Dorset sideburns in the art class at school and a few of us cut them out and stuck them on our 15 year old faces.
“In The Summertime wasn’t a record I bought at the time, one reason being that we didn’t have a record player, and another was, I had just joined a cricket club and spent most of the summer on the cricket field but not the bar. That came later!
Whilst there, I got to hear the b-side, Mighty Man on the club jukebox and played it so much they removed the disc as I believe I was driving everybody mad!
“Somebody had the actual maxi-single (it wasn’t me) and I was introduced to Dust Pneumonia Blues – it was so exciting!
“I suppose the main thing about Mungo Jerry at that time that really hit home with me was that they sounded different, more exciting than anything that I had ever heard before, and dressed differently to anyone else.
“It’s amazing to think that half a century later, I would be working on Mungo Jerry Magic, had looked after the previous website, Mungomania, ran the fan club and made lots of friends all over the world, and still love Mungo Jerry….and it all started with In The Summertime!”
My Memories of this song is when I heard it, it just blew me away and as an 11 year old boy went off to the record store with 7s/6d in hand as that was the price of singles then, only to be told as it was a maxi single it was 9s/11d.
“I had to get the extra off my Mam to pay for it and now have 47 copies of the song from different countries, different mixes, re-release’s, juke box issues, etc.”
“In the long hot sweltering summer of 1970, I was one of a crowd of 15-year-olds at boarding school studying diligently for O-levels. As ever, listening to music was our main safety valve and our passion. One record that regularly came onto the airwaves at the end of May was In the Summertime, by someone apparently called Mungo Cherry. (Well, Radio 1 reception in Devon was not state-of-the-art in those distant days).
“At first, I thought it must be an old blues track previously released maybe twenty years earlier, until somebody told me it was a brand new group – and the name was Mungo Jerry.
“Then we saw the coverage in the music weeklies as it entered the charts with a bullet and lodged firmly at No. 1. It was irresistible good-time fare, and not just a cheapo two-track 45, but a maxi-single with an extra track and a proper sleeve.
“We all loved Mighty Man and Dust Pneumonia Blues as well. At a time when some of us were starting to look outside standard chart fare and check out old blues compilations, and listen to Elmore James, Leadbelly, Robert Johnson and others, it was unusual to find a new group playing this music and putting their own stamp on it. They didn’t look like pop stars, either – more like a bunch of cuddly outlaws. And shock, horror – they didn’t even have a drummer!
“The debut album (and 3D glasses) followed a few weeks later. We realised that Mungo Jerry were not a one-hit wonder. And we only had to wait until early in the new year of 1971 to discover that they could be a first-rate rock’n’roll outfit as well, topping the charts with Baby Jump, surely one of the most glorious lo-fi sounding singles to hit the summit.
“How many of us imagined that we would be listening to new Mungo singles and albums on vinyl, CD, iTunes and everything else half a century later – while In The Summertime became the classic seasonal anthem, the one record that radio programmers could not ignore?
“In some ways, 1970 still seems like last week. Was it really that long ago? One burst of ‘Choo-choo-choo Aaaahhhh!’ brings it all back in a second.
“Thank you Ray.”
John Van Der Kiste.
“50 years of In The Summertime is nearly here. Thanks to Ray Dorset for a big part of my life.
“I was asked to drive the van for the band and ended up playing with them for a long time.”
“For me the In The Summertime story is a bit funny…I discovered Mungo Jerry with Hello Nadine, in 1976 (I was only 14).
“I began then to buy records (but remember there was no Ebay or Amazon.) So, the first LP, after Impala Saga was a Mungo Jerry compilation on Kaleidoscope.
“When I listened to In The Summertime, I found it great, and I loved that song : girls, fun, sunshine, and happiness !! But, at 14 years old, I was not aware of what happened in 1970 with In The Summertime.
“I discovered all that later, and ever since then I am a Mungo Jerry fan.
Jean Jacques Bedrossian.
“I can’t actually remember when I first heard In The Summertime, but I do remember being knocked out by it straight away. I was too young for skiffle and had never heard of Leadbelly, so I didn’t recognise any history, I just knew it was great.
“I didn’t get enough pennies though to buy it, ( 9s/11d if I’m not mistaken), but the GPO provided a TOTP telephone service, so me and the lads would cram into a phone box, huddled around the receiver, listening to this magic new sound.
“When I actually saw Ray and the lads on Top Of The Pops, that was it. Irreverent, musical troubadours without a care in the world, all smiles, sideburns, teeth and furry boots. I was a Mungo fan then and I still am. I even went to see them when they came to the City Hall in Newcastle in 1971. I’m betting you were there too Alan. (I was – left school that day too – Al)
“Mind you, it took Lady Rose to actually make me part with money for the record, (well it was banned by the B.B.C wasn’t it, so you couldn’t hear it on the radio). But once I’d done that I had to catch up, so In The Summertime, Baby Jump, and the albums Mungo Jerry, and Electronically Tested soon followed.
“I think In The Summertime defies analysis, and here I’m going to be controversial, I don’t think its that great a song. Even Ray acknowledges its just a 12 bar blues without a chorus, but that original record had a magic. Ray’s guitar and Colin’s piano hammering the riff/hook home, Ray’s warbling vocal, Paul’s grating banjo, (an unusual sound in pop music at the time), all underpinned by Mike’s double bass, (not an electric bass you understand, that would have ruined the whole thing).
“Familiarity breeds contempt, and I have to admit, there are a lot of other Mungo songs I prefer now, but I’ll never forget it was In The Summertime that got me on board in the first place.
“When I heard In The Summertime for the first time on the radio in my parents car radio, I did not like it that much, although it was presented as England’s new Number One.
“On the same Saturday I watched the German TV Show Beat Club. And there it was a great performance of an unusual band. No drums, a double bass, a jug, a banjo, a honky tonk piano and all of them seem to have lots of fun when performing. So, I began to like In The Summertime and the band.
“That was the time when you also heard album tracks on the radio, and as I hadn’t got a record player at that time, I depended on what was played in the radio. And when they played Baby Let’s Play House, I jumped on the Mungo train.
“Luckily a friend of mine bought the album, so I could tape it.
“Let’s not forget, it’s not only 50 years of In The Summertime but also 50 years of Mighty Man and Mungo’s Blues (Dust Pneumonia Blues.)
“1970 brings back memories of In The Summertime in Bridlington, my first holiday without my parents at thirteen!
“I was the youngest of 5 lads, the oldest being 16 renting a flat for a week. Imagine that happening now!
“Everywhere we went In The Summertime was being played. Great times, we will never forget it.
“In The Summertime still sounds as good today as it did in 1970. Happy Days!”
“Whilst messin’ about up the river in North Wales in the early summer of 1970 – I heard a very different style of music coming from my mates transistor radio – we didnt know who the group were and waited for the DJ to confirm – yes it was In The Summertime – that was the beginning of a lifetime following of Mungo Jerry.
“In The Summertime was fresh and exciting, although the summer that year was a damp squib. Then just after Christmas – I was amazed at the antics of Colin Earl on the piano on Top of the Pops during the playing of Baby Jump (incidentally the single knocked George Harrison’s, My Sweet Lord, off the number 1 slot).
“I was hooked and eagerly awaited the next single which became and still is my favourite single – Lady Rose. The years that followed brought some classic singles and albums – the best of which was Boot Power, which I had the honour to introduce to the people of Oman on my forces radio programme.
“Slowly collecting items from all over the world, I have now amassed quite a collection of all types of memorabilia (vinyl, CDs, flexi discs and others) with one of my prize items being an In The Summertime single released on Phillips.
“I have to thank Rob Kamphues for his friendship and his help in collecting – and also Ray Dorset who has supported me and the Cookie Show on MONFM radio in North West Wales.
“50 years ago – unbeliveable – what a ride! Still puzzles me why they didn’t release Brand New Car as a single?”
“As a 13 year old boy, I had my first interest in pop-music and my first contact with the mega-chart topper (also here in Germany) In The Summertime in school!
“Travelling on a bus with my class in June 1970, the bus driver played for us German NDR-Radio very loud!
“With the start of the first rhythm of In The Summertime, my English teacher, Alan Hodgkinson jumped up out of his seat on the first row and danced through the whole bus all the time of the song. This was the start for the whole class to party, too! I never will forget this!
“I had the wish to travel with an much older friend to the summer-festival on the german Isle of Fehmarn where Mungo Jerry was the headliner together with Jimi Hendrix and Canned Head – but my parents said “no chance – you´re to young”!
“I remember also from 1970 that the next public swimming baths to my home village had a juke-box
with connection to the loud-speakers outside. So In The Summertime was in the air many times EVERY HOUR (paid with pocket-money from young people) during the hot summer of 1970 for all people swimming in the water and laying in the grass around the lake.
“I never will forget this feeling with the summer-smelling air, the summer-burn and the taste of ice-cream in one hand and potato chips in the other.
“Got the record first as a cover on a cheap compilation LP, the original single one year later together with the vinyls of Lady Rose and Baby Jump.
“Like them all as important part of my youth (kissed my first own Lady Rose in 1971), but my all-time favs from Mungo Jerry are are two other songs: My Girl and Me (extended long version from Boot Power) and
You Don´t Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War (a hymn of all German men who wanted to do around 20 month ‘social work’ instead of 18 month in the German army – like me in the age of 18!”
“Not knowing after hearing the song live in July 1970 I would end up seeing them a further 364 times, the most enjoyable memories of hearing the song live, were at the Summer Ball’s in Oxford and my favourite Mungo Jerry gig at King Alfred College 6th June 1975, which was as it happens a lovely summers day”.
“50 years ago today, wow! It has certainly flown by, ‘Summertime’ was just released to coincide with the Hollywood Festival, John Peel was the first to play it on Radio, I know this because I popped it into him at his Regents Park flat. I knew John because we, Morrison’s, had brought in Captain Beefheart to tour and I arranged for the band to do a session for his radio show. I also booked him for the Festival.
“The rest as you know is history, it came into the charts at 13 and one week later went to No.1 where it stayed for seven weeks, but, and it’s a huge but, that was just the start of the story.
“And here we are now, 50 years later stuck indoors! Amazing”.
“I first heard In The Summertime, when on a holliday at my Uncle and Aunts’. He had some singles on a table and I asked if I could hear some of them – one of them was In The Summertime.
“I was about 10 years old, and that was it, it has followed me now I am on my way to 50 years of age.
“Still love it, and in my car it is (when alone) it is turned up on Spotify so everyone can hear it (ha-ha) and at home they think, ‘oh no, he’s playing it again’!
“It is my number one favourite and remains so for the rest of my life!”
“Why does everybody laugh when they hear the name Mungo Jerry?” Because for the last 50 years, yes 50 years, MUNGO has made us HAPPY. Long may that continue.
“My memories of 1970 are an amazing warm sunshine and watching the World Cup in Mexico with the amazing Brazilian and Italian teams.
“I must have been aware of In The Summertime being played a lot on the radio but I didn’t become a fan of Mungo Jerry until Lady Rose in the next summer.
“Since then, of course, I have become well aware of In The Summertime and I’ve always enjoyed the happy feel of the original song. I like the idea of “life’s for living, yeah that’s our philosophy.”
“Ray has shaken up the arrangement of the song over the years and it is a credit to his songwriting that even as a cool jazz recording (Earth mix, 2001) or as the version with the flow of the second part of the song into On A Night Like This or as the current blues version, the song still sounds amazing.
“In the last few years I’ve even introduced In The Summertime to my granddaughter, and she does the ‘ch-ch-ch’ bits very well. She has now taken up the drumsticks and is learning piano so who knows where this may go, maybe a female in the band?
“Congratulations to Ray for the success of his song. Let’s hope the ‘Lockdown Thank You’ song gets some attention too!”
“In The Summertime was released on this day (22nd May) 1970 & has become the most iconic summer anthem of all time, loved by millions around the world”.
James Dorset (Ray’s son).
“Neil McCallum MBE enjoying a cuppa tea celebrating 50 years In The Summertime. Mungo Jerry #1 fan in Australia”.
“My parents must have regretted giving me their radiogram with a big bass speaker. I had Mungo Jerry songs thumping through the house at high volume, shaking the house to its core. They used to wait for song breaks then bellow up the stairs at me to turn that bloody racket down”!