NEWBERRY — His music training started in the Mollohan area of Newberry and on Thursdays the member of the Swingin’ Medallions will play at the Opera House
Jimmy Perkins says he remembers going to movies at the Ritz Theater and not the Opera House. His dad attended shows in the historic theater, but on Thursday night he will be a part of the show.
Perkins started playing with the Swingin’ Medallions in 1965 and will be performing with the group at the Opera House on Thursday.
The singer, know for his beach music melodies, was born in Newberry in 1947.
He says he was raised on Glenn Street and had a host of family living in the Mollohan community.
His parents, Gene and Lolita Suit Perkins, were part of the community with his dad working in the mill and his mom playing the organ and piano at Glenn Street Baptist and her brothers sang.
“I still have family living here,” said Perkins, adding he too sang in the choir at the church and in the school glee clubs.
Perkins attended schools in Newberry until he dad was transferred to Greenwood when he attended high school.
With the move to Greenwood, Perkins and his brother, Tommy, got involved in the theater.
But while in high school, Perkins continued with his love for music and was asked to become a member of the Medallions in 1965.
“It started out as a hobby,” said Perkins, who has now spent his life in the music industry. “It has been an amazing ride.”
In 1966 the band took their music to a whole new level with the release of their hit “Double Shot (of My Baby’s Love).”
With that song becoming a million seller the band became known for the party-like concerts in the Southeast as they toured across the United States in 1966 and 1968.
The band became known as the party band of the south and did not play in venues like the Opera House but in party atmosphere with lots of shag dancing.
Perkins admitted it was a good time.
The band continued to open for acts like the late James Brown.
“Those were crazy days doing tours,” said Perkins, adding many shows were done in Florida and Daytona at the pier.
In 1972 the band went through changes and Perkins opted to live in Atlanta, Ga. and work with bands where his life remained “exciting” and his love of music continued.
Perkins has now been back with the band for two years continuing to perform.
Today the band has members ranging from 26 to 45 and up, said Perkins.
Perkins said it will be great to be back in Newberry on Thursday night and for his first time to perform at the Opera House.
“I am excited to see old friends,” said Perkins, adding his life has become a dream come true.