Song Lyric Sunday II: Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs, “Sugar Shack”

Seems that most of us (or a good number, anyway) had the same bright idea for today’s Song Lyric Sunday, the great standard "Java Jive." I went out this afternoon and looked at YouTube, and before I got too far this song popped into my head…

Thus spake Wikipedia:

"Sugar Shack" is a song written in 1962 by Keith McCormack. McCormack gave songwriting credit to his aunt, Faye Voss, after asking what are "those tight pants that girls wear" to which she replied "leotards". The song was recorded in 1963 by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs at Norman Petty Studios in Clovis, New Mexico. The unusual and distinctive organ part was played by Petty on a Hammond Solovox, Model J. The original instrument is on display at the Norman Petty Studios today.

"Sugar Shack" hit No. 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 (where it spent five weeks from October 12 to November 9, 1963) and Cashbox singles charts (where it spent three weeks from October 19 to November 2, 1963). It ended up being Billboard’s number 1 song of 1963. ("Surfin’ U.S.A." was originally listed as the number 1 song of the year, but later lists place "Sugar Shack" at number one). Its run on the Billboard R&B chart was cut short because Billboard ceased publishing an R&B chart from November 30, 1963 to January 23, 1965. "Sugar Shack" has the distinction of being the last single to make it to No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart because Billboard did not publish an R&B chart for fourteen months. In Canada the song was No. 1, also for five weeks, from October 14 to November 11. On November 29, 1963, the song received RIAA certification for selling over a million copies, earning gold record status. In the UK, "Sugar Shack" also reached No. 45 on the Record Retailer chart. Gilmer and The Fireballs were the last American band to chart before Beatlemania hit.

The lyrics, from

There’s a crazy little shack beyond the tracks
And ev’rybody calls it the sugar shack
Well, it’s just a coffeehouse and it’s made out of wood
Expresso coffee tastes mighty good
That’s not the reason why I’ve got to get back
To that sugar shack, whoa baby
To that sugar shack.

There’s this cute little girlie, she’s a’workin’ there
A black leotard and her feet are bare
I’m gonna drink a lotta coffee, spend a little cash
Make that girl love me when I put on some trash
You can understand why I’ve got to get back
To that sugar shack, whoa baby
To that sugar shack, yeah honey
To that sugar shack, whoa yes

To that sugar shack.

Now that sugar shack queen is a’married to me, yeah yeah
We just sit around and dream of those old memories
Ah, but one of these days I’m gonna lay down tracks
In the direction of that sugar shack
Just me and her yes we’re gonna go back
To that sugar shack,
Whoa uh oh
To that sugar shack, yeah honey
To our sugar shack

Yeh, yeh, yeh, our sugar shack

One day, I guess the world will figure out it’s espresso, not expresso, but anyway… That’s Song Lyric Sunday, Part 2, for March 7, 2021.

23 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday II: Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs, “Sugar Shack”

  1. This song really takes me back, John. It brings back great memories of my siblings and my parents. I’m glad you included this one.


    1. I’m thinking I should nhave gone with this rather than “Java Jive.” I was concerned that others may have picked it, but didn’t think “Java” would have many fans. Boy, was I wrong…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember this one well. It was on the charts in my first year of junior high school when I started in San Diego. They played it constantly at lunch time. Within 2 months my family moved to Northern Indiana. It was a big change.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


  3. Rarely do you post a song I don’t like…this one gets under my skin in the worse way. My buddies knew this and would play it to torment me lol. But saying that…at least these guys had a hit…I wish I could have had a hit!


    1. They had two more hits, “Daisy Petal Pickin'” and “Bottle of Wine.” They had a couple more before Jimmy Gilmer, when they were an instrumental band, “Torquay,” “Bulldog,” and “Quite A Party.” Maybe one of them is more to your liking… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. See when I asked the husband to help he could’ve given me this song 😉 Hi Mr. John hope all is well in your corner of the world. I know it’s at least warmer than Chicago. Soon though, I hope we will get a taste of Spring. Good Song ❤ Scarlett


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