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Mungo Jerry

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Ashford, England

Mungo Jerry is an English folk/classic rock group from Ashford, Englandwhose greatest success was in the early 1970s, though they have continued throughout the years with an ever-changing line-up, always fronted by Ray Dorset. They are remembered above all for their hit “In the Summertime”. It remains their most successful and most instantly recognisable song. Their name was inspired by the poem Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer, from T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. According to Joseph Murrell’s “The Book of Golden Discs” (1978), ‘Mungomania’ was possibly the most startling and unpredicted pop phenomenon to hit Britain since The Beatles.

Dorset and Colin Earl had previously been members of The Good Earth. Soon after recruiting Paul King and Mike Cole, they made their national debut at the Hollywood Festival at Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire in May 1970, the week their first single, “In the Summertime” was released. They stole the show and the record topped the UK Singles Chart for seven weeks, made number one in almost every other country around the world, and to date has sold around 23 million copies. After John Godfrey replaced Cole, their second single “Baby Jump” also topped the UK chart in March 1971. A third hit, “Lady Rose” (also in 1971), gave the group the image as a band for producing summertime based hits.

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