On this day in music history: October 12, 1963…

On this day in music history: October 12, 1963 – “Sugar Shack” by Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on November 23, 1963. Written by Keith McCormick and Jimmy Torres, it is the biggest hit for the Amarillo, TX based singer and musician. Born in Chicago, IL and raised in Texas, Gilmer joins The Fireballs in 1960 after their original lead singer quits the band right before a scheduled tour. The band is managed by the late rock & roll legend Buddy Holly’s producer Norman Petty. In late 1962 while looking for material to record, the band find three songs written by a fellow Petty managed musician named Keith McCormick. One of these songs titled “Sugar Shack” garners a great positive response from audiences whenever they play it live. In May of 1963, they cut the track at Petty’s Clovis, NM recording studio. Co-songwriter Jimmy Torres gives his aunt Fay Voss his share of the publishing as a birthday present, with her name actually appearing on the record as a co-writer instead of his. Released in June of 1963 by Dot Records, the song is a regional hit in the southwest, but does not make any impact nationally (at first). Right before Dot is ready to release a follow up single, AM radio powerhouse CKLW in Windsor, Ontario, Canada (also serving the Detroit, MI area), begins spinning “Sugar Shack” and it takes off nationally. Entering the Hot 100 at #65 on September 21, 1963, it streaks to the top of the chart three weeks later. “Shack” also has the distinction of the being the last single to reach number one on the Billboard R&B singles chart for over fourteen months, when the magazine stops publishing that chart from November 30, 1963 to January 23, 1965. The song is ranked the top single of the year by Billboard Magazine. “Sugar Shack” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.