Today’s story revolves around a friend’s hi-jinks and one of the biggest selling singles ever. The song is the 1970 smash hit In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry. The UK track set the world on fire and sold over 30 million copies, an absolutely ridiculous number for a single. It hit the top of the charts in 26 different countries and is considered the world’s first “maxi-single,” meaning there are more songs besides just an A- and B-side. The 7-inch vinyl ran at 33 RPM as opposed to the standard 45 for singles in order to achieve that feat. Maxi-singles would later come out in 12-inch format and be a staple of record selling well through the 1980’s.
The story, as such, goes like this – it was the summer of 2020. We were bored shitless, as I’m sure much of the world was in the height of COVID. Several of us decided to use Zoom or other web communication tools to hang out, at least virtually. It was like being at a bar but over the Internet and full of technical glitches and not being able to tune someone out talking too much and stuff like that.
Anyway, one day the friend who hosted these meetings had been spinning In The Summertime for some reason so he decided to share the love with us. I honestly didn’t remember the song, it did come out about 7 years before my arrival on this rock. That is in stark contrast to my dear friend who was very much alive when the song was released.
This of course kicked off a quest to find out more about the song and Mungo Jerry, given that we were very bored and had nothing else to do in Lockdown Summer 2020 but drink on camera and deep dive for trivia on legacy rock acts. The band is still active and released an album as recently as 2019 according to their brief Wikipedia bio. Ray Dorset has been the group’s lone constant member and he has employed a wide range of talent as side players for the band. One interesting former member is Bob Daisley, he of Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow and Uriah Heap fame (among many others). It was a trip to see his name in the extensive list of former Mungo Jerry members, though to date I haven’t taken the occasion to visit the album he recorded with the group. It’s called Long-Legged Woman for those curious.
We also wondered how hard it might be to snag a vinyl copy of the song and/or album. Vinyl was skyrocketing in price in 2020 as the influx of cash to citizens led to a run on collectibles that sent prices into the stratosphere. But, when something sold over 30 million copies in 1970, it turns out there are plenty of copies of the In The Summertime single and the debut Mungo Jerry album to go around. It might set a person back $5 for a copy online or maybe $2 if found in store.
There was one final bit of a joke over the song. My friend, being older and somewhat technology-challenged for some reason despite working in the technology industry, tried playing a bit of a joke on me. He would send a link to the song via text message in an attempt to “rickroll” me into playing it.
The only problem with that approach is that I have a modern phone and YouTube links preview their content in my text feed. I’m sure most anyone who has a phone made in the past decade experiences the same thing. It renders rickroll attempts obsolete. My well-meaning but oblivious friend struck out with his clever plan that might have worked in 2008.
That is about all for this silly story involving a 52 year old song. It’s honestly a pretty fun tune. I can see why it caught fire back in the day and I don’t mind giving it a spin as summer approaches and the carefree vibe the song invokes helps usher in the season. Just be sure that if you want to pull one over on someone that you know how technology works in 2020 and beyond.