The Wah-Watusi

Album: The Wah-Watusi (1962)
Charted: 2


  • 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). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for all above

Comments: 11

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaBabette as I recall their producer's name was David Appel.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaIs there anyone who knows, or any way of finding out who the musicians were, called the Applejacks. they played on the Orlons recordings. really liked their style thanks.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 8th 1962, the Orlons performed "The Wah Watusi" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Five days earlier on June 3rd, 1962 the song entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
    {See third post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 10th 1963, "South Street" by the Orlons entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #76; and eight weeks later on April 7th, 1963 it peaked at #3 {for 1 week} and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #4 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Was the Philadelphia quartet's third straight Top 10 record...
    {See 2nd post below}.
  • Babbling Babette from Tulsa OkI bought this 45 rpm single (summer '62) about the time it was entering the Top 20. It went higher & reached #2 later. It became the first of three consecutive gold records for The Orlons. Personally, I prefer their "Not Me" from '63 that got to #12 because of the rhythm & the outstanding production (as compared to the previous hits). Don't know who their producer was at Cameo Records, but he did a knock out job on most of their releases. The red-hot saxophone on their songs is so cool. This dance hit was from the Watusi dance craze from the East Coast. As a kid, I recall seeing The Orlons on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" a few times. Three girls and one guy. Unusual for the times, but it worked. When they were promoting "The Wah-Watusi" on "Bandstand" some kids on TV were going the dance, but I always thought it was too complex to bother doing. So me & my friends never did dance the Watusi at any parties or dances. Still, I loved The Orlons. Still do.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 3rd 1962, "The Wah Watusi" by the Orlons entered Billboard's Top Hop 100 chart at position #97; and on July 15th it peaked at #2 (for 2 weeks) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 6 of those 14 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    The 2 weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for both those weeks was "Roses Are Red (My Love)" by Bobby Vinton...
    The Orlons next two records also make the Top 10; "Don't Hang Up" (peaked at #4 for 1 week) and "South Street" (reached #3 for 1 week)...
    Their next release after "South Street" was "Not Me"; and it almost made the Top 10, it reached #12.
  • Randy from Fayettevile, ArI 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.
  • Bubblesk from Memphis, Tn"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.
  • Elmer from Westville, OkI 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.
  • Reuben from Amsterdam, NetherlandsOn the Beatles' White Album track 'Revolution #9' George Harrison names a view dances among which 'The Watusi'.
  • Jerro from New Alexandria, PaIf 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!
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