Mungo Jerry: The story of the 'In the Summertime' band and where they are now

18 September 2023, 14:59 | Updated: 18 September 2023, 15:03

Mungo Jerry's Ray Dorset and the band
Mungo Jerry's Ray Dorset and the band. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Mungo Jerry is a British rock band that was formed by Ray Dorset in 1970. The band is best known for their hit song 'In the Summertime', which became a global sensation and one of the best-selling singles of all time. But who are Mungo Jerry, and what is their story?

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Formed in the early 1970s, this British group rose to fame with their infectious melodies and unique style, leaving an enduring legacy in the world of rock and blues.

The Birth of Mungo Jerry

Mungo Jerry emerged during a transformative period in music history. The early 1970s saw a confluence of genres, from rock 'n' roll to blues, and Mungo Jerry managed to find a sweet spot within this musical melting pot.

The band was formed by Ray Dorset, a talented singer-songwriter and guitarist. His distinctive voice and innovative approach to songwriting would soon become the driving force behind Mungo Jerry's success.

The band took its name from the poem 'Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer' by T.S. Eliot, featured in his Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. This whimsical choice of name hinted at the band's playful and eclectic musical style.

Mungo Jerry - In The Summertime ORIGINAL 1970

The Early Years and Breakthrough

Mungo Jerry's journey to fame began in 1970 with their debut single 'In the Summertime'. The song became an instant hit, climbing the charts and capturing the essence of the carefree spirit of summer. With its catchy tune and memorable lyrics, 'In the Summertime' struck a chord with listeners around the world.

The song's success propelled the band's debut album, also titled In the Summertime, to great heights. This album showcased Mungo Jerry's unique blend of skiffle, blues, and rock, setting them apart from their contemporaries. The album remains a classic of its era, a testament to the band's talent and innovation.

Mungo Jerry's Biggest Hits

While 'In the Summertime' undoubtedly stands as Mungo Jerry's signature song, the band had more to offer than just one hit wonder. Their subsequent singles and albums continued to demonstrate their musical prowess.

  • 'Baby Jump': Following the success of their debut, Mungo Jerry released 'Baby Jump' in 1971. This raucous track became another chart-topper, cementing the band's place in the annals of rock history.
  • 'Lady Rose': In 1971, the band released the album Electronically Tested, which featured the beloved track 'Lady Rose'. This song showcased their ability to craft memorable melodies infused with their signature bluesy edge.
  • 'Alright, Alright, Alright': This toe-tapping hit from 1973 was yet another example of Mungo Jerry's ability to create infectious tunes that resonated with audiences of all ages.
  • 'Long Legged Woman Dressed in Black': Released in 1974, this song continued to showcase the band's knack for storytelling through music.

These hits, along with others, contributed to Mungo Jerry's reputation as a band that could consistently produce catchy and memorable songs.

Mungo Jerry "Long legged woman dressed in black"

The Ever-Changing Lineup

Throughout their career, Mungo Jerry experienced several lineup changes. Ray Dorset, the band's founder, was a constant presence and the driving force behind the group. Other members came and went, each contributing their unique talents to the band's evolving sound.

Some of the notable members who contributed to Mungo Jerry's success over the years include Paul King on bass, Joe Rush on drums, and Bob Daisley on bass. These musicians, among others, played pivotal roles in shaping the band's sound during various phases of its career.

Mungo Jerry performing on TV
Mungo Jerry performing on TV. Picture: Getty

Where Are They Now?

Mungo Jerry have continued to perform, albeit with an ever-evolving lineup centered around Ray Dorset. Over the years, Dorset remained committed to sharing the band's music with fans, performing at festivals, concerts, and events around the world.

Mungo Jerry's music also enjoyed continued popularity through radio airplay, licensing in commercials, and inclusion in movie soundtracks. Their songs, especially 'In the Summertime', remained a staple of classic rock radio stations and playlists.

Ray Dorset is still active on social media, and last year was promoting his latest release, Somelight.

While the band may not have maintained the same level of commercial success they enjoyed in the early 1970s, their music remained an enduring part of rock and blues history.

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