I love the Frogmen’s ad for their “Underwater” classic. The group out of Culver City, California was rather short lived – with only three singles to their credit. “Underwater” was an early surf pioneer recording – very garage like – primitive – just the right stuff! There were only four Frogmen in the beginning when “Underwater” was being shopped around the Los Angeles area by the alleged composer of the song Jack Andrews (there are different opinions about the actual writers – from two members of the group to all members of the group to Jack Andrews – the credited composers on the label are Jim Young and group member Dennis Farley. One band member said that Jack Andrews definitely didn’t compose the song). A record executive told Andrews that the song lacked something ‘special’. A recording engineer came up with the idea for the constant-croaking effect throughout the record and that did the trick.
“Underwater” was picked up by tiny Candix Records – first home to the Beach Boys – and became the very first surf record in the U.S. to land on the Hot 100 entering on April 4th, 1961 and peaking at number 44. The Beach Boys tracks on Candix “Surfin’” b/w “Luau” would not be released until November of 1961 and would only peak at number 75 in early 1962.
The Tee Jay record shown below from 1964 is often thought to be the same group but original Frogmen have stated that it is definitely a different group but with ties to the original via Jack Andrews (see below).
More information on this recording from a 45 Cat contributor:
“At the time of the Andrews-Lafferty wedding, the Jack
Andrews produced Candix single Underwater by The
Frogmen had just exited the national charts following a
peak of #44 on Billboard and #34 on Cash Box.
A couple of years later, Tommy Lafferty and his then
brother-in-law Jack Andrews would revive “The
Frogmen” name for a single on his and Jack Andrews
own label, appropriately named Tee Jay Records – “T”
for Tommy and “J” for Jack.
We cut the record about a year after ‘Underwater’.
I think it was 1962.
The lineup of musicians responsible for recording Sea
Haunt and Diamond Back were Tommy Lafferty (lead
guitar), Bill Latronica (rhythm guitar), Jerry Craven
(bass), Bob Ash (tenor sax), Dan Blood (alto sax) and
Bob Yosten (drums).
This assembly of Frogmen were earlier known as “The Hurricanes” and then later as “The Shockers”.