1963 The Shirelles – Everybody Loves A Lover
Four teenaged girls from Passaic, New Jersey, began singing together in 1957 in a group they initially called either the Poquellos or the Pequellos. They wrote the song I Met Him On A Sunday (Ronde-Ronde) to perform in a talent contest at their high school. Ronde in the title of the song referred to a dance style.
Florence Greenberg, the mother of one of the group’s members, owned Tiara Records. It took a few months, but she finally convinced the girls to sign with her label.
The group briefly called themselves the Honeytunes. One of the girls was named Shirley, and they mashed up that name with a piece of another group’s name (the Chantels) and the result became their final name, the Shirelles.
Tiara released I Met Him On A Sunday (Ronde-Ronde) as a single that did well enough locally that Decca Records licensed the record for national distribution. It peaked at #49 on the Hot 100 in 1958.
The group’s next single failed to chart, and although she remained the group’s manager, Florence sold the Shirelles to Decca Records for $4,000. Florence used the money to start a new label, Scepter Records.
The group released two singles for Decca that did so poorly that the label simply returned the group to Florence. She moved the group to her new label, and their first single was a re-release of Dedicated To The One I Love in 1959. The single stalled at a disappointing #83.
Two more singles did poorly, after which Florence asked songwriter Luther Dixon to work with the group and he began producing their music. He even wrote the next song they recorded, Tonight’s The Night. The record reached a more respectable #39 on the Hot 100 and even reached #14 on the R&B chart.
The group finally found significant success with their next single. Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote Will You Love Me Tomorrow, and the Shirelles’ recording took the group to #1 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart in 1960.
In 1961, the label reissued Dedicated To The One I Love yet again, and the single finally reached #3 on the Hot 100. Several more hit records followed.
The last single the Shirelles created with Luther was Everybody Loves A Lover. The song had been a top ten hit for Doris Day in 1958, but their new version stalled at #19 on the Hot 100 and #15 on the R&B chart.
The Shirelles had two more top forty singles in 1963, but never reached the top forty again. When two of the group’s members left to get married, a new hire at Scepter Records joined the group on tour: Dionne Warwick.
When the members of the group turned 21, they discovered that the trust fund the label had promised to set up for them did not exist. Multiple lawsuits were filed and eventually settled out of court.
Two distinct groups continue to keep the group’s music alive on the Oldies Circuit.
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