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Swingin Medallions founding member dies; current group was to perform Sunday night in Sandy Springs

The Swingin Medallions announced on the group's Facebook page Sunday evening that a founding member had died. The announcement came as the current incarnation of the classic group was scheduled to perform in Sandy Springs. 

"We are extremely saddened that we lost the founding member of the Swingin Medallions, John McElrath, yesterday after a battle with Parkinson’s disease," the Facebook post said.

Although McElrath was no longer performing with the band, the 77-year-old’s two sons had joined the group over the years.

The Swingin' Medallions' "Double Shot of My Baby's Love," released way back in 1966, climbed briefly into Top 10 on the Billboard charts, and it remains popular today.

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Read and sign the online guestbook for John McElrath

A memorable part about the record is the background "party noise" that duplicated the sound of fraternity parties the band would play on weekends while its members were still in college. 

 "We'd tried to record it (for a company) in Atlanta and nothing worked," said McElrath in a 1992 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "So we went to Charlotte, pitched in our own money and recorded the song our way, grabbing people off the street, just anyone we could get to come in and make noise." 

The Medallions made 2,000 copies and sold them at parties. A copy found its way into the hands of a disc jockey in Birmingham, Alabama. When a national label picked it up, the band was on the brink of making it big. Some radio stations wouldn't play the record because of the phrase "worst hangover that I ever had" so another version was made.

The group was scheduled to perform Sunday night as part of Concert by the Springs series in Sandy Springs.

Harley Funeral Home and Crematory in Greenwood, South Carolina, is in charge of funeral arrangements.

From AJC Archives: Lewis Grizzard called Swingin’ Medallions’ music a gift that endures (1993)

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