Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs were a 60s Tex-Mex rock ‘n’ roll band. The group was formed by lead singer Domingo “Sam” Samudio in 1961 in Dallas, Texas, USA. The other original members were Carl Medke, Russell Fowler, Omar “Big Man” Lopez, and Vincent Lopez. The original lineup only recorded one record which failed to sell. They broke up in late 1962. Samudio went on to become an organist for the rock group Andy and the Knightriders.
Samudio resurrected The Pharaohs in 1963. The new lineup was Samudio (vocals/organ), Dave Martin (bass), Ray Stinnet (guitar), Jerry Patterson (drums), and Butch Gibson (saxophone). They made their debut with the novelty number “Haunted House” and signed up with the MGM music label. The follow-up songs “Ju Ju Hand” and “Ring Dang Do” were minor chart successes. The band scored their greatest smash hit with the wonderfully raucous “Wooly Bully,” which sold over three million copies and stayed on the Billboard Top 40 charts for 18 weeks (the song peaked at #2 on the pop charts). “Wooly Bully” was named Record of the Year for 1965 by “Billboard” magazine. The bubbly “Li’l Red Riding Hood” likewise did very well; it peaked at #2 on the Billboard pop charts for two weeks straight. The group went on to record more enjoyably frothy novelty singles, but none of them were as successful as either “Wooly Bully” or “Li’l Red Riding Hood.” The band appear as themselves in the musical When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965). Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs disbanded in 1967.
A true rock ‘n’ roll classic, “Wooly Bully” was featured on the soundtracks to the films Wild Country (2005), Mistah (1994), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Baby It’s You (1983), and More American Graffiti (1979). Domingo Samudio went on to contribute two self-penned songs for the soundtrack to The Border (1982), starring Jack Nicholson. Samudio is now a motivational speaker who still makes occasional live concert appearances as well as continues to write both songs and poetry.