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The Wah-Watusi


The Orlons

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This song was one of the many dance-craze songs of the early '60s. It was the follow-up to Dee Dee Sharp's dance-craze hit "Mashed Potato Time."
This was the Orlons' first national hit. Their two previous singles failed to chart.
There were three songs about the Watusi dance. This was the second song and biggest hit about the dance. The first was "The Watusi" (by the Vibrations, US #25), and the third was "El Watusi" (by Ray Barretto, US #17). (thanks, Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for all above)
The Orlons
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Comments (5):

I remember back in the summer of 1962 "Wah Watusi" was a huge dance hit (#2 on Billboard charts) lots of teens were doing. A real silly dance too. The record had a real heavy bass to it. I became a fan of The Orlons beginning with this song. The group was made up of 3 girls & one guy---all from Philly. I recall seeing The Orlons on the Dick Clark's American Bandstand several times during their career, especially when Clark's show was still in Philly. I think Rolling Stone magazine's website said that The Orlons won their recording contract at Cameo Records & at first didn't have any successful records so they worked as backup singers for the label's star, Dee Dee Sharp. It was a year later, like 1963, that they had their 3rd hit (their 3rd gold record too) called 'South Street'. Now, that hit I really love to this day. It has a heavy beat and the intro is so wild with the drums & funky-sounding sax. I still have the 45 rpm single and the "South Street" album too. It was fun. It was "good times" R&B.
- Randy , Fayettevile, AR
"The Wah-Watusi" was big back in the late summer of '62. This is a catchy R&B hit, but I really loved The Orlons' later hits like "South Street" and "Not Me." Those were party hits. I remember that in late 1962 I accompanied my Dad on a trip to Philadelphia & I coaxed our taxi driver to take us to the Cameo-Parkway Records offices on Locust Street (1850 Locust, I think), but it was an office building with a lot of other offices there. This dance was about The Watusi & I never did get to dance it in 1962. I was 7 yrs old back then. But I did get to see The Orlons on Dick Clark's American Bandstand a few times. They sure knew how to sing & harmonize. My cousin told me she saw The Orlons a few years ago on a PBS-TV music concert. Glad to know they're still entertaining, but I thought a few of the girls had died. Rock on, Orlons.
- BubblesK, Memphis, TN
I bought the 45 r pm single "Wah-Watusi" by The Orlons in summer 1962 on Cameo Records. Can't recall how to dance the Watusi though. But I do recall that a lot of teens at the time would've watched Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" on TV to learn a lot of teen dance crazes of the times. I don't remember seeing The Orlons on "Bandstand," but I do remember seeing Dee Dee Sharp doing her huge hit "Mashed Potato Time." I hear that The Orlons were Dee Dee's background singers on that song & on her follow-up hit "Gravy (for my Mashed Potatoes) also from summer 1962. I loved most of The Orlons' recordings & their albums most of all. I hear that The Orlons have reformed their group including some of the original members and some new members & they've hit the "golden oldies" tour circuit. The "new" Orlons were on PBS-TV's special concert "At The Drive-In" some time around 2002, I believe.
On the Beatles' White Album track 'Revolution #9' George Harrison names a view dances among which 'The Watusi'.
- Reuben, Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you take a look at the lyrics to this song, you'll notice that it doesn't tell too much about how the Watusi is done. For the majority of the time, this song just cuts up and criticizes other dances!
- Jerro, New Alexandria, PA
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