C'mon And Swim

Album: C'mon And Swim (1964)
Charted: 5

Songfacts®:

  • The Swim is a dance. There's not much to it - just act like you're swimming, but out of the water. Like many of its kind, it mentions other dances in the lyric for reference: the Hully Gully and the Twist.

    Freeman claimed he invented the dance on January 27, 1962 when he was one of several performers at the "Twist Party" concert headlined by Chubby Checker at the Cow Palace in San Francisco ("The Twist" was the #1 song in the country). In a story he told many times throughout his career, Freeman said he got called back on stage after his set, but didn't have any more songs ready, so he made up some dances. After doing some Twist variations (Tennis Twist, Basketball Twist), he started shaking his butt and moving his arms in a swimming motion. "This is called 'The Swim,'" he said.

    Sly Stone, 18, had met Freeman earlier and was in charge of the house band that night. Based on Freeman's dance, we wrote "C'mon and Swim" with Tom Donahue (real name: Thomas Coman), who along with fellow KYA-AM DJ Bobby Mitchell staged the show.

    With Stone producing, Freeman recorded the song, with was released on Autumn Records, the label set up by Donahue and Mitchell. The song was a hit in the summer of 1964, when America got into "The Swim."
  • Sly Stone released a single with his group the Viscaynes in 1961 called "Yellow Moon," which was a minor hit in the San Francisco area. He went to work as a songwriter/producer at Autumn Records, which is where he did "C'mon and Swim." A few years later, he rose to stardom with his group Sly & the Family Stone.
  • Sly Stone played organ and guitar on this track. He may have also played bass - Freeman remembered Sly's brother Freddy playing that instrument.
  • Bobby Freeman had a #5 US hit in 1958 with "Do You Want To Dance," which was released when he was 17. He followed with "Betty Lou Got A New Pair Of Shoes," which reached #37, but didn't have another big hit until "C'mon and Swim" in 1964. As was convention, he followed it up with a songs of the same theme: "S-W-I-M." Also written by Donahue and Stone, it reached #56 US.

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