RIP: Jim Manolides, legendary musician with Frantics, Dave Lewis, and more….


Jim Manolides has left the land of the living.

I asked my friend Barry Curtis of the Kingsmen (now retired) and the Daily Flash, to share a few words..

We are incomplete without Jimmy.

He was a walking Northwest music history encyclopedia. He knew virtually everyone from those 50’s ~ 70’s glory days. He knew hundreds (more like thousands) of songs including the entire Louis Prima book. Jimmy was opinionated and did not suffer fools, but once any of us got to really know him, we had a friend for life. He taught me a lot and I will always take it forward.

R.I.P James Henry Manolides.

– Barry

When it came to serious musicians in the Pacific Northwest, Jim Manolides was the real deal. He was a member of some of the hottest NW bands during the 1950s-1970s.


Jim was an original member of The Frantics, a rock band from Seattle whose first record (“Straight Flush”) made the Blllboard Top 100 chart in 1959. In this particular photo of the Frantics, you can see the five original members – Jim Manolides, Chuck Schoning, Bob Hosko, Don Fulton and Ron Petersen.

They were the second musical act ever signed to Dolton Records.


Jim Manolides was not only working as a musician for Dolton, but he was also a graphic artist that designed the Dolton logo used on the record label, which he did when he was an art student in College.

The Frantics were actually one of the earliest bands to ever perform LOUIE LOUIE (after The Playboys), even though the band never recorded it.

Believe or not, Jim actually told me that HE was the guy that taught the LOUIE LOUIE lyrics to Rockin’ Robin Roberts.

While the Frantics were the first of many bands that Jim was affiliated with, Jim also linked up with Dave Lewis, who was considered the “Godfather of Northwest Rock.” The Dave Lewis Combo was one of the most influential rhythm & blues bands in the Pacific Northwest during the 1950s-1960s.

Jim was also the leader of a band known as James Henry & the Olympics, which performed and recorded a great version of “My Girl Sloopy” a few months before the McCoys recorded the same song as “Hang On Sloopy” in 1965.

I was very grateful to be able to witness a 1999 reunion of James Henry & the Olympics in Seaside (Oregon) and capture these special moments.

There so many other great bands that Jim was once a part of – The Dynamics, Sweet Talkin’ Jones, The Counts, and Jr. Cadillac, which was a collective of all-star musicians from other prominent NW bands including the Wailers, the Sonics, and various others.

Over the years, it looks like I wrote at least three blog posts that paid tribute to the talents of Jim Manolides that I’d like to encourage you to read, if you haven’t done so already…

Seaside Memories with James Henry & the Olympics

James Henry & Olympics – Sloopy (LOUIE-mutant) of the Week

Between Richard Berry and Rockin’ Robin Roberts

As his Seattle Times obituary pointed out, he was indeed a larger-than-life kind of guy…

An effervescent bohemian, Mr. Manolides was known in the ’70s and ’80s to jazz fans as the gravel-voiced bartender with a million stories at Parnell’s jazz club, owned by Roy Parnell, Sandy Parnell’s late husband. In the 1990s, Manolides was a familiar figure behind the counter at Nickel Cigar, on Yesler Avenue, formerly the Manolides Gallery.

Born in Seattle, Mr. Manolides was the son of King County Deputy Prosecutor and Seattle District Court Judge Evans Manolides. Jimmy Manolides went to Ballard High School and began playing with The Frantics. A self-taught musician, he graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in art, was drafted, and served in the U.S. Army as an art instructor at Fort Dix, N.J. When he came home, he opened the Manolides Gallery.

“Jimmy was a bigger-than-life kind of guy, so naturally gifted with his music, his art,” Parnell said.

Here’s a never-been-seen-before clip of Jimmy performing a Big Jay McNeely song at the Kent Morrill tribute concert in 2011.

Rest in peace, Jimmy Manolides. You shall not be forgotten…

Reference Links:

Seattle Times obit – Jimmy Manolides, a Seattle musician and art curator, dies at 76 by Paul de Barros

The Frantics (

The Dave Lewis Combo (

Jr Cadillac (

The Dynamics (

Sweet Talkin’ Jones (

The Counts (

Dolton: The Northwest’s First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record Company (

Rock ‘n’ Roll Schallplatten forum – The Frantics

4 comments to RIP: Jim Manolides, legendary musician with Frantics, Dave Lewis, and more….

  • Louie Manolides

    Thanks for this! A few things about him even I didn’t know! My dad was a bit of an enigma. One might not be so quick to use the word “humble” when it came to him, but, in actuality, he was. There are so many things he could have bragged about, so many accomplishments in life, but he actually wouldn’t tell many stories about his days as a rock and roll legend unless really pushed.

  • Bob Dymond

    I was BS’ing with some of my old Army buddies today. The subject today was where we took Basic Training. I went to Ft Leonard Woods (Fort-Lost-in-the-Woods, where all the hills went up) April – June 1965. And one of the two guys I remember was a certain Jim Manolides. From the description above, I think it is the same Jim Manolides. If this is the same guy, let me know as I have a couple of stories. Thanks.

  • Joseph Frazier

    Share away. Would love to hear the stories. Pretty sure there was only one Jim Manolides in this world.

  • Jack D. Bell

    I am a 75yo Boomer, who listened compulsively to the local radio stations in Seattle, back in the late 50s, etc…one of my favorite tunes was Straight Flush…the pounding, yet very danceable bass line was done by Jim Manolides…that tune was certainly one of the very first tunes to ooze that “NorthWest” rock sound!…I attended many a school dance, in High School and College at the UW. I danced to many of the NW groups of the day…but Mr. Manolides burned that thumping bass line into my skull, forever!…I wonder if he, in his early days, ever bumped into Jimi Hendrix, who was hanging around the early dance venues, and knew a couple other original NW rockers?…My generation was so blessed, to experience such talented, and local, musicians.

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