The Fireballs, sometimes billed as Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, is an Americanrock and roll group. The Fireballs were particularly popular at the end of the 1950s and in the early 1960s. The original 1958 line-up was: George Tomsco (lead guitar), Chuck Tharp (vocals), Stan Lark (bass), Eric Budd (drums), and Dan Trammell (rhythm guitar).
The Fireballs were formed in Raton, New Mexico. The Fireballs got their start as an instrumental group, featuring the very distinctive lead guitar of George Tomsco. They recorded at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico, where Buddy Holly had previously launched his career. They reached the Top 40 with the singles "Torquay" in 1959 and "Bulldog" in 1960. Tharp, Budd and Trammell left the group in the early 1960s, adding Doug Roberts on drums, plus Petty Studio solo vocalist, singer/pianistJimmy Gilmer (born in 1940 in Chicago and raised in Amarillo, Texas) to the group.
Billed as Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs, the group reached #1 on the Billboardchart with "Sugar Shack", which remained at that position for five weeks in 1963. The single also reached #1 on Billboard's R&B chart for one week in November of that year, but its run on that chart was cut short because Billboardceased publishing an R&B chart from November 30, 1963 to January 23, 1965. Nonetheless, "Sugar Shack" earned the group a Gold Record Award for "Top Song Of 1963". Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs then had another pop hit in 1964 with a similar sounding "Daisy Petal Pickin'", which reached #15 on the Hot 100.
During the run of "Daisy Petal Pickin'" on the charts, the British Invasion began with the first hits by The Beatles. The group had difficulty competing with the influx of British artists and did not reach the Top 40 again until 1968, with "Bottle of Wine," which was written by Tom Paxton. The Fireballs took "Bottle of Wine" to #9 on the Hot 100. Although Gilmer was still a member of the group, the band was billed simply as "The Fireballs" on that single]Gilmer left the group in 1969 to pursue artistmanagement and record production in Nashville, Tennessee. Drummer Doug Roberts died in 1981.
All of The Fireballs material has been reissued on Ace Records (UK) and Sundazed record labels. The Fireballs continued performing with original members George Tomsco, Stan Lark and Chuck Tharp until Tharp died of cancer in 2006. Jimmy Gilmer has returned occasionally as lead vocalist and this line-up continued to perform, as of 2007.