The girl groups of the 1960s 18



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The Beatles were not the only phenomenon of 1963 – girl groups were now pumping out the hits. Before the girl groups there were groups of girls like The Andrews Sisters, The Beverly Sisters, The Chordettes, and The McGuire Sisters to name a few. The new phase of teenage angst, with adorable, heartbroken but loyal lyrics was started by a five piece New York based group The Chantels back in 1958 with “Maybe”.  This style was carried on by The Shirelles recording of the powerful “Dedicated To The One I Love”, then the Gerry Goffin & Carole King classic “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”. The teenagers were left in no doubt about the erotic opening line: “Tonight you’re mine…completely”.

Detroit’s Tamla Motown label then produced The Marvelettes who took “Please Mr Postman” to #1 in the USA, their other hits included “Don’t Mess With Bill”, “Playboy”, “When You’re Young And In Love”, “Strange I Know”, “Someday, Someway” and “Twistin’ Postman”.

Goffin & King then provided The Cookies with the hits “Chains” and “Don’t Say Nothing Bad About My Baby” as well as two smash hits for The Chiffons “One Fine Day” and “He’s So Fine”.

A trio from New Orleans, The Dixie Cups reached #1 in the USA with “Chapel Of Love” and from New York the Shangri-Las also reached the top with “Leader Of The Pack”.

But the most successful girl group, The Supremes lived up to their name with three # 1’s in 1964, “Where Did Our Love Go”; “Baby Love” and “Come See About Me” for Tamla-Motown.

But the Svengali who provided 1963 with the girl group phenomena was the so called Tycoon of Teen, Phil Spector who introduced us to The Wall of Sound, on his Phillies Label. Spector was an accomplished song writer/producer, who had contributed to The Teddy Bears million seller,

“To Know Him Is To Love Him”, Ben E. King’s “Spanish Harlem” and The Drifters “On Broadway”. He produced his own particular sound in 1961 with The Crystals, “There No Other Like My Baby”, then came “Uptown”, He’s A Rebel”, “Da-Doo-Ron-Ron”, and “Then He Kissed Me”.

The Ronettes took over with “Be My Baby”, “Baby I Love You”, “Best Part Of Breaking Up” and “Walking In The Rain”.

He played mix and match with his artists to get the best sound; “He’s A Rebel” was a mix of The Blossoms and Darlene Love. Darlene was his top singer and featured in most of his recordings.     Other Spector produced hits included “Corrina Corrina”, Ray Peterson; “Pretty Little Angel Eyes”, Curtis Lee; “Every Breath I Take”, Gene Pitney; “I Love How You Love Me”, The Paris Sisters; “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah”, Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans; “Today I Met The Boy I’m Gonna Marry”, Darlene Love; “Hold Me Tight”, The Treasures; “Black Pearl”, Sonny Charles & The Checkmates; as well as a string of hits for The Righteous Brothers, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”, “Just Once In My Life”, “Unchained Melody”, “I Love You For Sentimental Reasons”, and “Ebb Tide”.

Then he produced Ike & Tina Turner with “Save The Last Dance For Me”, “A Love Like Yours Don’t Come Knocking Everyday”, “I’ll Never Need More Than This” and the classic “River Deep- Mountain High”. This last track reached number three in the UK as well as the top ten in Australia but Spector was so disillusioned about its failure to chart in the USA, as well as the fact industry changes was making it harder for independent singles to be distributed that he decided to get rid of the Phillies Label.


Tell us, what girl bands did you love?

Benjamin Hill

I was born in Belfast Northern Ireland 1946, I attended school at Ballygomartin Secondary School until I began an apprenticeship as an Electrician in 1962 at Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders (Birthplace of the Titanic). I married Rose-Marie in 1964 and immigrated to Australia in 1970 together with our two children Anna-Marie and Ronald. I worked in various sections of the construction industry as an Electrician until retirement 2011 and now my blog about 60s music is a labour of love that I am lucky to share with all lovers of music.

  1. Those were the days, so many good groups and great music. Bring back the sixties.

    1 REPLY
    • I’m happy to bring back memories of the sixties on my community radio programme, Valley Sunrise, on TYGA-FM 98.9 in New Norfolk, Tasmania, every Friday and Sunday morning especially between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
      TYGA-FM streams on the net at so can be heard anywhere.
      There is also likely to be another community radio station which does a similar programme near you.

  2. Some very good ones, the Supremes, the Toys ( A Lover’s Concerto), Ronettes, the Chiffons, the Crystals. The list goes on. If you remember the musical “Little Shop of Horrors” the chorus was made up of three girls, the single names of the last three groups I mentioned.

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