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Today's history lesson!
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Karen and Olivia in '66
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Bev, Efficient 1960s
Trivia...The Marvelettes, not the Supremes, were the group that changed Detroit. Previous to their success, the Motown label was strictly a hardcore rhythm and blues label. After Please Mr. Postman, 1961, became such a success, Motown decided to change their focus to an orchestrated, smoother style--now known as "the Motown sound."
Florence Ballard, later famous with the Supremes, served as a "substitute Marvelette" on tour in 1962. She filled in for Wanda Young, who was pregnant. Source: The Original Marvelettes: Motown's Mystery Girl Group by Marc Taylor. The original name of the Marvelettes was "the Casinyets." The name, created as a joke, meant "the Can't-Sing-Yets" and was created by the girls for a high school talent show.
Originally, the Supremes was an entirely different group: all guys! In 1960 and part of 1961, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard and a fourth member, Barbara Martin, were known as the Primettes. They were a female counterpart to a male group, the Primes. The Supremes were an all-male group who hadn't made their mark. Those Supremes added a female lead singer and renamed themselves Ruby and the Romantics. They went on to have a hit with Our Day Will Come in 1963. In 1961, Florence Ballard chose the name "the Supremes" for the girl group. Ross and Wilson were somewhat unhappy with the "masculine-sounding" group name. The other choices of names that didn't make it: the Darleens, the Sweet Ps, the Melodees, the Royaltones, and the Jewelettes.
Shortly after being named "the Supremes," Barbara Martin left the group. Now a trio, the female Supremes were known around Motown as the "no-hit Supremes." They had a string of flops prior to their 1964 hit, Where Did Our Love Go?
In the early 1960s, Dionne Warwick recorded an album track written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. She hated the song (and one line of lyric in particular) and refused to let it be released as a single. The song did become a smash hit in 1970, making worldwide rock stars out of Karen and Richard Carpenter. The song? Close to You. The objectionable lyric? "They sprinkled moon dust in your hair of gold and starlight in your eyes of blue."
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas got their group name when Martha Reeves combined the Detroit street name Van Dyke Avenue with the name of Della Reese. Previously, they had been the Del-Phis, and Motown had released one song from them under the name of The Vells.
Time it took girl-group classic songs to be written:
Remember (Walkin' in the Sand), 20 minutes
Songwriter: George Morton
Artist: The Shangri-Las
I Love How You Love Me, 15 minutes
Songwriters: Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil
Artist: The Paris Sisters
Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, from Scotland, was told by her first manager that people simply could not remember her name, it was so long. He twisted her arm into changing it to what we know today...Lulu. Ironically, her hit To Sir With Love, released when she was 18, was number 1 in the U.S. but never charted in the U.K.
Lulu had a second number 1 hit, Relight My Fire. Never heard it? That's because it was number 1 in the U.K. when she recorded and released it at age 44. It didn't chart in the U.S.
Dee Dee Sharp is widely recognized as having the first logo in the music business. Early on, someone got the creative idea to use a half-note as the "D" of her name and the treble clef as the "S."
Remember When...They Were Number One?Here is a list of girl-group sounds that were Billboard number-one hits from 1960-1966. They are listed in chronological order. Each listing shows the date the song appeared on the charts; the number of weeks (in parentheses) the song stayed in the number-one position; song title; group; record label and number (also in parentheses).
05/16/60 (2) Everybody's Somebody's Fool, Connie Francis (MGM 12899)
08/22/60 (2) My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own, Connie Francis (MGM 12923)
12/12/60 (1) Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Shirelles (Scepter 1211)
10/16/61 (1) Please Mr. Postman, Marvelettes (Tamla 54056)
02/24/62 (1) Don't Break the Heart That Loves You, Connie Francis (MGM 13059)
03/17/62 (2) Johnny Angel, Shelley Fabares (Colpix 621)
03/31/62 (3) Soldier Boy, Shirelles (Scepter 1228)
07/21/62 (1) The Loco-Motion,Little Eva (Dimension 1000)
10/06/62 (2) He's a Rebel, Crystals (Philles 106)
02/23/63 (1) Our Day Will Come, Ruby & the Romantics (Kapp 501)
03/09/63 (4) He's So Fine, Chiffons (Laurie 3152)
04/06/63 (3) I Will Follow Him, "Little" Peggy March (RCA 8139)
05/18/63 (2) It's My Party, Lesley Gore (Mercury 72119)
06/22/63 (2) Easier Said Than Done, Essex (Roulette 4494)
08/10/63 (3) My Boyfriend's Back, Angels (Smash 1834)
04/11/64 (2) My Guy, Mary Wells (Motown 1056)
05/16/64 (3) Chapel of Love, Dixie Cups (Red Bird 001)
07/18/64 (2) Where Did Our Love Go, Supremes (Motown 1060)
10/10/64 (4) Baby Love, Supremes (Motown 1066)
10/24/64 (1) Leader of the Pack, Shangri-Las (Red Bird 014)
11/21/64 (2) Come See About Me, Supremes (Motown 1068)
01/02/65 (2) Downtown, Petula Clark (Warner 5494)
03/06/65 (2) Stop! In the Name of Love, Supremes (Motown 1074)
05/08/65 (1) Back in My Arms Again, Supremes (Motown 1075)
10/30/65 (2) I Hear A Symphony, Supremes (Motown 1083)
01/15/66 (2) My Love, Petula Clark (Warner 5684)
02/05/66 (1) These Boots Are Made for Walkin', Nancy Sinatra (Reprise 0432)
08/20/66 (2) You Can't Hurry Love, Supremes (Motown 1097)
11/05/66 (2) You Keep Me Hangin' On, Supremes (Motown 1101)
"Tears Come Tumbling" was a big hit for the Teardrops. But their hair was even bigger!
Two members of the Angels, Peggy Santiglia, and Barbara Allbut, were asked in 1970 to be a part of a group called Dawn that would sing with Tony Orlando. At the time they were wanting to focus on their career as the Angels, so declined, as the group Dawn didn't seem promising. Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent got the jobs. Source: Girl Groups: Fabulous Females That Rocked the World by John Clemente.
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Time to Slim Down!
How about some "tips and tricks" from 1966 to help you lose weight?
1. Make dishes more appealing--sprinkle dried herbs on cottage cheese, serve jelled foods in attractive molds, place boiled eggs in pretty cups.
2. Start a meal with a bowl of burning hot, low-calorie soup. Prolong the eating ritual. Try drinking the soup with a teaspoon.
3. Strawberry ice cream is less fattening than chocolate!
4. Don't let your clothes "bag on you" as you lose weight. "Hey," others might tell you, "look at the way your clothes hang. You've lost too much weight."
In case you aren't scared enough, here's some swell advice from this book: "Gooey ice-cream sundaes, jumbo sodas and other food favorites of some teenagers come dangerously close to the diet that medical researchers use to cause life-shortening obesity in laboratory rats!
Remember, "Your pal Penny may boast that she is losing pounds must faster than you by subsisting on pretzels. Angela may insist she is shedding blubber by following that Hollywood diet of nothing but oranges. Or maybe some girls at school have been trimming by consuming yogurt morning, noon and night. But diet fads can imperil your health and sometimes even be fatal!"
And let's see if any of these lines from the book are helpful to your self-esteem as you go on your dieting journey:
This gal didn't get much R-E-S-P-E-C-T until she got "soulful" after her girl-group years!
VinylluvIf you threw out your old lime green hi-fi stereo years ago, don't be alarmed. They still make turntables, as well as Dippity-Do! Many new, local bands record on vinyl.
What if your bratty sister Beverly threw out all your great 45s years ago? Maybe it was in retaliation for you cutting the hair off her Barbie doll or for showing her Cross-Your-Heart training bra to your friends.
Don't get your poni-tail in a knot. You can still buy original vinyl. Go to our "buying girl-group oldies" page and check out the section on where to find your favorite old records on vinyl:
P.S. After you buy some vinyl, keep Beverly away!
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Almost all of the girl-group songs had one or more of these themes...
1. He loves me.
2. He loves me not.
3. He's from the wrong side of town.
4. Mama doesn't understand.
5. Boys are good.
6. Boys are bad.
The Toys, who charmed the charts
with "A Lover's Concerto."
Doo-Lang Poll Final Results
What's the coolest background utterance sung in girl-group songs?
Doo-lang, doo-lang 23%
She-lang, she-lang 17%
Shanga-lang, shanga-lang 17%
Doo-wop, doo-wop 17%
Shoop, shoop 6%
No, no, no, no 5%
La, la, la, la 3%
Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry sang on the recordings, but the other "Raindrops" varied, depending on who was around when a photo session happened. This photo includes Ellie's sister, Laura, on the left.
Laura sometimes toured as a Raindrop, but since she couldn't carry a tune, sang into a dead microphone!
Wonder which brand of makeup
the Revlons wore?
Bad Girl!Not everyone thought the girl-group songs were so sweet and innocent. The Lutheran Christian Encounter publishing house released a list of girl-group song themes in 1963, saying that the music inspired an "unhealthy, false and fantasy-oriented way of thinking" because of the point of most of the songs:
1. Things happen to me. I have no control over them and no responsibility for them.
2. Life has no discernible meaning or purpose; it is governed by an inscrutable fate: "What will be, will be."
3. I am alone in this frightening, incomprehensible world. (Although there is safety in conforming with the crowd, this doesn't alleviate my basic insecurity.)
4. If love were to happen to me--your love--all my anxieties would be magically resolved. You, the love object, are so incomparably wonderful (in fact, divine) that I worship you and would do virtually anything to obtain you.
5. If you withhold your love, or if, as fate might decree, you turn it off and give it to someone else, my loneliness and anxiety become unbearable.
That about sums it up!