The Marathons Biography

The brief history of the Marathons is shrouded in mystery and confusion. Long thought to be a pseudonym for the Olympics, the US R&B group that had recorded ‘Western Movies’ in 1958, the Marathons was actually a pseudonym for the Vibrations, a Los Angeles vocal group who had a 1961 dance hit with ‘The Watusi’, and in a previous incarnation, as the Jayhawks who hit the US singles charts in 1956 with ‘Stranded In The Jungle’. The convoluted story of the Marathons’ only hit, 1961’s ‘Peanut Butter’, is that the Olympics’ record company, Arvee, needed a new release from the group while they were on the road. In the Olympics’ place, Arvee hired the Vibrations to record ‘Peanut Butter’, a virtual soundalike of the Olympics’ own ‘(Baby) Hully Gully’. ‘Peanut Butter’ reached number 20 on Arvee, but when the Vibrations’ own label discovered that its group had been moonlighting, it took over distribution of the record, issuing it on both the Chess Records and Argo labels. With that decision, the career of the non-existent Marathons came to an end. However, an attempt by Arvee to cash in on the success of the group resulted in a bogus version of the Marathons, along with an album and a series of single releases, including ‘C. Percy Mercy Of Scotland Yard’ and ‘Tight Sweater’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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