Two musicians from the coke works town of Clairton, Pa, guitarist Jim Pavlack and drummer Bill Scully began jamming together in the early 1960s. Bass player and singer Gary Pittman joined them at the end of 1962. The R&B rock trio named themselves The Arondies and began playing gigs in late 1963. They worked the local circuit playing Clairton’s Juliot Hotel, the Sigma Nu fraternity at Carnegie Tech, and they packed the Clairton VFW during football season. They also played at DJ Terry Lee’s record hops through Western Pennsylvania. Terry Lee plugged them on his popular WMCK radio show and brought them into his station for live performances in 1965.
The Pittsburgh Summer of '69' in 1965.
The Arondies began recording demos of their original songs in November of 1964. Terry Lee taped their live WMCK appearances. The Arondies released their debut single with two original songs "69" and "All My Love" on Terry Lee’s Sherry label in 1965. Terry Lee broke ‘69’ on his radio show and other top 40 Pittsburgh stations played it heavily. During the summer of 1965 “69” was a smash hit in Pittsburgh that sold as quickly as it came off the presses. It sold over 1,200 copies in its first two days and sold over 10,000 copies a month. As demand increased later pressings that were titled "Class of 69' were made on Astra, another small Pittsburgh label. Clark Race passed on the song as the title '69' was too strong for KDKA. It became a garage band standard for Pittsburgh guitarists that summer.
Bruce Eder of Allmusic.com wrote: "69" is regarded as a garage rock instrumental classic.”
The Arondies released the follow up single “One Dead Chicken" on Astra later in 1965. In less than a year they broke off their management agreement with Terry Lee over a royalty dispute, The band broke up in 1967.
Introducing the Arondies.
The Arondies left behind thirteen garage rock tracks that were released by Get Hip Records in 1999 on the CD "Introducing the Arondies".
After the Arondies broke up Gary Pittman and Jim Pavlack formed a quintet called "Soul Congress" with Uniontown singer Billy Sha-Rae. They moved to Detroit in 1967. In Detroit Soul Congress became the in house session band for Funk Brother Jack Ashford's Just Production Studio. They played on sessions with the O'Jays and other artists. In 1971 they scored an R&B hit with the song "Do It". After about 4 years of work in Detroit they returned to Pittsburgh. Billy Sha-rae's recording of "Let's Do It Again" made in 1971 was reissued on the compilation CD 'Absolute Funk Volume 5' on the French Body & Soul label.