Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Galaxies (Decatur / Mt. Zion)

Things were looking up for the Galaxies in the spring of 1961.  The popular Decatur-area combo, comprised of two college students, a couple of high school kids and a gas station attendant, had just recorded a pair of instrumentals for a major record label.

A cover of "My Blue Heaven" along with the original composition  "Tremble" were released on Dot Records (45-16212) in early May of '61.  The single was also released in Germany on the London label (DL 20 431).  Billboard reviewed both songs giving "Tremble" its top rating of four stars.

The Galaxies had formed just a few years earlier in Mt. Zion, Illinois.   The original lineup included Kenny Monska on guitar, Gary Warnick on piano, Danny Goveia on drums, Mike Lee on saxophone and Dick Underwood on bass.

At some point Jack Anderson, a music education major at Millikin University, replaced Mike Lee on saxophone.  The leader of the group, Gary Warnick, was also a music education major at Millikin University at the time.  Both Warnick and Anderson had been members of the Millikin Civic Symphony.

As for the Galaxies, they had become a popular group around the Decatur area performing the top hits of the day at many local bars and clubs as well as teen dances and other events.  Interviewed for the Decatur Daily Review, Jack Anderson said, "We'll play anything but westerns."

The single was recorded in Nashville where Dot was based.  "Tremble" had originally been titled "Rockin' Raindrops" but was changed by the label to avoid confusion with another similarly named song.  All five members shared in the songwriting credit. 

Concerning the recording session, Anderson said, "we don't rely as much on electronic gimmicks but we do get a different sound in the studio."   He added that the studio was "really fabulous."

The group was hoping the Dot release would help launch them into a long successful career in the music business but the single would prove to be the group's entire recorded output.  They continued to perform around Central Illinois for the next couple of years before calling it quits.

In 2012, Gary Warnick self-published a memoir called Gigs: True Stories About Playing Music For Sixty Years.

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