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The Capitols

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Creators of the classic dance record "Cool Jerk," Detroit R&B trio the Capitols formed in 1962, comprising lead vocalist/drummer Sam George, guitarist Donald Norman Storball, and keyboardist Richard Mitchell McDougall. Originally dubbed the Three Caps, the group was performing at a local teen dance headlined by singer Barbara Lewis when they met Ollie McLaughlin, Lewis' producer and owner of the Karen record label; McLaughlin soon helmed the Capitols' 1963 debut single "Dog and Cat," but when the release went nowhere, the group dissolved. Three years later, McLaughlin received a phone call from George, who told him the Capitols had re-formed and that Storball had written a potential hit called "Cool Jerk" that capitalized on the current vogue for dance songs. McLaughlin quickly blocked out studio time, and although the horn section contracted for the date failed to show, the Capitols recorded the song anyway. Issued on Karen in the spring of 1966, "Cool Jerk" cracked the pop Top Ten and hit number two on the R&B charts. But when the follow-ups "Zig Zaggin'" and "We Got a Thing That's in a Groove" failed to match "Cool Jerk"'s success, the trio opted to write and record virtually nothing but dance songs, resulting in a series of lackluster efforts like 1967's "Cool Pearl" and the following year's "Afro Twist" (which even included "Cool Jerk '68" as its flipside). By the time the Capitols attempted to right the ship, it was too late -- Karen issued three final singles (1968's "Ain't That Terrible" and 1969's "When You're in Trouble" and "I Thought She Loved Me") before the group dissolved at the turn of the decade. While Storball later served as a Detroit policeman, on March 17, 1982 George was fatally stabbed in a domestic dispute; he was just 39 at the time of his death. ~ Jason Ankeny

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