The Tams were an American vocal group from Atlanta, Georgia, whom enjoyed their greatest success in the 1960s, and the 1970s, and most improbably in the 1980s.
They were originally formed in 1952, as the Four Dots, but they took their long lasting name from the Tam O'Shanter style hat that the group choose to wear on stage. Although such an early origin suggests longevity, it was not until 1960 that the group finally emerged with a single on Swan Records. "Untie Me", a Joe South composition, became a Top 20 U.S. R&B hit, but follow-up releases failed until 1963, when "What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am)", reached the U.S. Top 10.
Whilst never a major recording force, their longevity was due to persistence, and the occasional surprising success. For example, "Hey Girl Don't Bother Me" was a modest Stateside hit in 1964. The Tams had only one further U.S. hit in 1968 with "Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy", which peaked on the Billboard R&B chart at 26, and made the UK Top 40 in 1970.
However, the group stunned many (including themselves), by flying to the Number One slot in the UK singles chart in September 1971, thanks to its initial support from the then thriving northern soul scene.
They were destined to not chart again until sixteen years later. Then, their association with The Shag, a dance craze and subsequent 80s film, secured a further lifeline to this remarkable group, giving The Tams another UK Top 30 hit, with "There Ain't Nothing Like Shaggin'".