Biography: Swingin' Medallions
Tradition is defined as “The handing down of a belief, legend, or custom from generation to generation”. The Swingin’ Medallions, a 47-year Southern tradition, are a living definition of the word.
How does a band endure the generations? The group’s signature high-energy style delights audiences of all ages. Their act, as well as their music, is indeed timeless. The band was founded in 1962 by John McElrath and now includes his two sons, Shawn and Shane. The band also features Jake Bartley, the son of original Medallion, Hack Bartley. Featuring an ever-popular horn section, the group effectively blends the sounds and music of yesterday and today. The band has performed throughout the nation in thousands of venues. Their diverse repertoire has made them overwhelming favorites with college audiences as well as the more mature rock and rollers.
The band was made famous by its 1.2 million selling hit album, “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love”, in 1966. It remains the signature song of the band. The song, in fact, continues to demonstrate its timeless quality on radio, television and in motion pictures. “Double Shot” was followed with another hit, “She Drives Me Out of My Mind”, in 1967. In 1969, they released yet another hit, “Hey, Hey Baby”, the song featured at their 2004 Gator Bowl Half-Time Show performance. The band released countless other singles through Capitol Records and continues recording new music today.
In September 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band invited the Medallions on stage at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville SC to join in for on rendition of "Double Shot". This was definitely an historic moment and one of the highlights of the show. This was quite an honor for the Medallions!! Bruce has even labeled “Double Shot” as “The greatest fraternity rock song of all time”.
In early 2008, they were invited by the United States Ambassador to Canada to perform in Ottawa, Canada for a forthcoming July 4th Celebration. In 2007, they were chosen to headline the Inaugural Party for the Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford. Also in 2007, they performed for the Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue’s Inaugural Ball. In 2003, they joined forces with Coors Brewing Company, Sterling Marlin and hundreds of fans for a Cruise of the Caribbean.
The cast of the hit television series Aly McBeal sang along with the original recording in a 1998 episode. Bruce Willis sang the song in an episode of “Moonlighting”. In 1999, it was again featured in the NBC miniseries, The 60’s. It was heard on the big screen in the movie, Sorority Boys and most recently it was used in the NBC series, American Dreams.
Lewis Grizzard (Southern humorist and writer) labeled the Medallions as “THE PARTY BAND OF THE SOUTH”, a moniker that has become forever synonymous with the Medallion name. In 1993, Grizzard wrote in a nationally syndicated column, “Even today, when I hear “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love”, it makes me want to stand outside in the hot sun with a milkshake cup full of beer in one hand and a slightly drenched coed in the other”.
On October 6, 2005, The Medallions performed live on the FOX 5 Atlanta Television show, “Good Day Atlanta” and played “Double Shot” to an audience of over 400,000.
In June of 2001, Chicago Tribune nationally syndicated columnist Bob Greene wrote an article entitled The Swingin’ Medallion View of U.S. History. He summed up America’s love affair with “Double Shot” with his discovery of the song being played and sold in the gift shop of the Smithsonian Institute. When inquiring as to why it was available in the nation’s foremost repository of history, the clerk replied, “Because it’s as much a part of our history as anything else we sell”.
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