Disco‘s most soulful vocal group began in the 60s as The Volcanoes and were also called The Moods.
A snappy revival of Judy Garland’s 1940s tune Zing Went the Strings of My Heart was their first chart single, reaching #17 on the R&B list in 1972.
Despite their well-deserved reputation and boisterous, jubilant harmonies and sound, The Trammps were never a huge commercial success even during disco’s heyday.
Indeed, they had only three R&B Top Ten hits between 1972 and 1978, and such wonderful records as Soul Bones, Ninety-Nine and a Half and I Feel Like I’ve Been Livin’ (On The Dark Side Of The Moon) stiffed on the charts though they were beloved by club audiences and R&B fans alike.
Their only huge hit was Disco Inferno in 1977, which was a number nine R&B single in 1977 and was also featured in the movie Saturday Night Fever (1977). Yet it missed the pop Top Ten, peaking at #11.
The Trammps’ prowess should not be measured by chart popularity alone; Jimmy Ellis’ booming, joyous vocals brilliantly championed the celebratory fervour and atmosphere that made disco both beloved and hated by music fans.
Ellis was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008 and performed a final date with The Trammps in 2010. He passed away in 2012.