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Passings: Eddie Lewis of The Olympics

by VVN Music

Eddie Lewis, the last surviving member of the doo wop group The Olympics, died on Wednesday (May 31) of an undisclosed cause.

The group was formed behind Lewis' cousin, Walter Ward, on lead with Lewis, Charles Fizer, Walter Hammond and Melvin King.  Lewis was the only person in the group that wasn't a schoolmate of the other members.

In 1957, the group released their first single, I Can Tell, billed as Walter Ward and the Challengers. After the record wasn't successful, they changed their name to the Olympics and released Western Movies which went to number 8 on the Hot 100, 7 on the R&B Singles and 12 on the British charts.

The Olympics never again achieved the success of Western Movies but, over the next eight years, were able to place another thirteen records on the Singles chart including (Baby) Hully Gully (1960 / #72 Pop) which is credited with starting the Hully Gully dance craze, Big Boy Pete (1960 / #50 Pop / #10 R&B) which was used as the basis for the Kingsmen's Jolly Green Giant, and Good Lovin' (1965 / #81 Pop) which would go on to be a chart topping record for the Rascals.

Member Charles Fizer was killed in 1965 during the Watts Riots and King left the group later that year. The group continued recording into the early 70's and have remained a staple on the oldies circuit with both Lewis and Walter Ward.