The Five Americans was a pop rock band formed in 1962 and had their biggest hit in 1967 with the self-penned song ‘Western Union’. While studying at the Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, the band met and started performing locally as ‘The Mutineers. In 1964, they went to Dallas, where they signed a record deal with John Abnak Abdnor of a local record label. Initially, they were called ‘The Five Americans’, but after the British Invasion, they decided to change their name to be more American. The band had a few flops in 1965 but eventually had a breakthrough hit in 1967 with ‘Western Union’.
The comments section of the ‘Western Union video shows that many still love the song. One commenter reminisces about the sound of the times and how there was a lot of variety in the music of the mid-60s. They point out that pop music today can all sound the same, a stark contrast to the diverse sounds of the past. Another commenter expresses their love for the 50s and 60s era of music, even though they were not alive during that time. They are grateful to hear great songs like ‘Western Union’ today.
As for the song, ‘Western Union’ is a catchy tune with great harmonies and a memorable guitar riff. It is easy to see why it became a hit in 1967, peaking at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song’s lyrics tell a story of a man waiting for a telegram from his lover, anxiously checking the Western Union telegraph office every day to see if it has arrived. The chorus is infectious, with the repeated line “Western Union, oh yeah” making it impossible not to tap your foot and sing along.
The Five Americans had a few other hits in 1967, including ‘Sound of Love’ and ‘Zip Code’, but none reached the same success level as ‘Western Union’. The band underwent a few lineup changes in the late 60s before eventually disbanding.
Interestingly, in 1967, the same year that ‘Western Union’ became a hit, gas prices were only 33 cents a gallon, a gallon of milk cost $1.03, and Lyndon B. Johnson was President of the United States. It was a time of great change and upheaval in America, with the Vietnam War raging and civil rights protests happening nationwide. Despite these challenges, music was still a unifying force, and songs like ‘Western Union’ brought people together with their catchy melodies and relatable lyrics.
‘Western Union’ by The Five Americans is a classic example of the pop-rock sound of the mid-60s. Its catchy tune and relatable lyrics made it a hit in 1967, and it still holds up today as a beloved song of that era. If you haven’t heard it yet, I highly recommend listening because it’s sure to put a smile on your face and get your toes tapping. Share it with your friends, and let them experience the joy of ‘Western Union’ too.