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The Chiffons Absolutely The Best

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(2004/EMI/FUEL) 14 tracks The prolific young songwriters that created pop gold on a daily... more

The Chiffons: Absolutely The Best

(2004/EMI/FUEL) 14 tracks

The prolific young songwriters that created pop gold on a daily basis within the cramped cubicles of the fabled Brill Building in midtown Manhattan and the bustling structure just up the street at 1650 Broadway were operating at their absolute creative peak during the early 1960s. The compositional efforts of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and their similarly imaginative counterparts were crucial to the development of the girl group genre. Inspired in large part by the tremendous success of The Shirelles, whose soulful Goff-in/King-penned Will You Love Me Tomorrow' paced the pop hit parade in early '61, winsome female aggregations sprouted up everywhere on the busy New York studio scene. Many were proud recipients of these gilt-edged composers' largesse: Barry and Greenwich even formed their own pseudo-girl group, The Raindrops. Few of these newcomers enjoyed the sustained popularity of The Chiffons, who came together circa 1960 at James Monroe High School in the Bronx. Primary lead singer Judy Craig, Barbara Lee, and Pat Bennett were the three original members: they were soon joined by Sylvia Peterson. who had previously been with Little Jimmy (Rivers) & The Tops and would occasionally spell Craig as Chiffons lead singer. The Tops' 'Puppy Love' for Len Records (a subsidiary of Venton 'Buddy' Caldwell's Philly-based V-Tone Records) was written by Ronnie Mack, who was the conduit for Peterson joiningThe Chiffons to make it a quartet. Mack handed The Chiffons what turned out to be their eternal calling card. 

His bubbly composition 'He's So Fine' was an irresistible confection possessing immense potential. Ronnie escorted The Chiffons into a $25-an-hour studio to commit several of his best songs to tape. accompanying them on piano. Demo in hand, Mack dropped by Bright Tunes Productions, a firm operated by the members of The Tokens. whose exotic 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' had topped the pop charts at the end of 1961. The Tokens were so impressed by 'He's So Fine' that they tookThe Chiffons and Mack back to their favorite recording studio to cut it for public consumption. To save money. The Tokens reportedly supplied instrumental backing on the session themselves. Bright Tunes was in the midst of a production deal with Hollywood's Capitol Records. but the major label declined to pick up 'He's So Fine.' Several more labels followed tin-eared suit before The Tokens negotiated a deal with New York's Laurie Records. a company by then headed by brothers Bob and Gene Schwartz and Elliot Greenberg that was best known for a string of hits by Dion, both with The Belmonts ('I Wonder Why: 'A Teenager In Love') and without ('Runaround Sue: 'The Wanderer'). Laurie issued 'He's So Fine' as The Chiffons' debut (flipped with 'Oh My Lover'), and it shot all the way up to number one on Billboard's pop and R&B charts during the spring of '63. The Chiffons suddenly found themselves overnight stars. A quickly manufactured He's So Fine album featured The Chiffons placing their own harmonic stamp on The Shirelles' aforemenioned 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow:' Mack wrote the quartet's non-charting encore 'Lucky Me: with Sylvia fronting the B side, 'Why Am I So Shy: which was penned by all four Tokens (Hank Medress, Jay Siegel, and brothers Phil and Mitch Margo). 

But a terminal diagnosis of Hodgkin's Disease tragically ensured that Mack wouldn't be around to help his proteges any longer as a songwriter and co-manager. So The Tokens turned to the productive duo of Goffin and King to supply The Chiffons' third Laurie offering. The infectiously perky 'One Fine Day' had been waxed in demo form by Little Eva-then riding high on her '62 chart-topper 'The Loco-Motion'-and her frequent Dimension Records cohorts The Cookies, with King's jackhammer piano riff prominent in the mix. The Tokens simply substituted Craig's lead for Eva's on the same tape and poured The Chiffons' backing voices over those of The Cookies. Voila, another smash: 'One Fine Day' vaulted to #5 pop and #6 R&B that summer and spawned an LP of the same name (its contents included an updated rendition of Dion and The Belmonts'58 Laurie break-through 'I Wonder Why'). All four Tokens collaborated on The Chiffons' next lighthearted hit 'A Love So Fine: a Top 40 pop item that fall, with two up-and-coming soul men. George Kerr had been a member of The Serenaders and would later produce Linda Jones and The Escorts, while Sidney Barnes made solid R&B singles of his own before joining psychedelic Chicago soul-rockers Rotary Connection alongside Minnie Riperton. Both men were connected with Motown's short-lived New York office as writers at about the same time they worked on 'A Love So Fine.' 

The Chiffons' 1963 exploits still weren't over, even if their Spectoresque 'When The Boy's Happy (The Girl's Happy Too),' a Barry/Greenwich copyright, hit the streets as by The Four Pennies on Laurie's fledgling Rust imprint. The anthem managed a #95 pop showing late in the year, and it wasn't the pseudonymous Pennies' only trip to the charts. Their 'My Block' had battled 'One Fine Day' for chart placement during the summer, peaking at #67. Under their own name, The Chiffons scored a #36 pop seller just after year's close on a pounding 'I Have A Boyfriend: brainstormed by Barry, Greenwich, and Medress. Unhappy with the artistic guidance of The Tokens, The Chiffons successfully sued to break their Bright Tunes contract. Yet the quartet remained with Laurie, usually recording at Allegro Studios in the basement of 1650 Broadway with engineer Brooks Arthur.Their dreamy 'Sailor Boy'-the work of Goffin and Russ Titelman-climbed to #81 in the summer of '64. The next year saw The Chiffons sign directly to Laurie under the aegis of Greenberg and Doug Morris, though the Bright Tunes imprimatur remained on their 45s and The Tokens wrote the smooth 'Did You Ever Go Steady: which graced the B side of The Chiffons' hypnotic mid-'65 #49 hit 'Nobody Knows What's Goin' On (In My Mind But Me): The foursome lip-synched the latter song, led by Sylvia, in the obscure film Disk-O-Tek Holiday, surrounded by waterfalls and geese in a colorful pastoral setting. The Chiffons had one more major hit left in them. Morris, Greenberg, Barbara Baer, and Bob Schwartz (the same crew responsible for Laurie labelmates The Barbarians' 'Moulty') collaborated on 'Sweet Talkin' Guy: an infectious theme that was somewhat more sophisti-cated than The Chiffons' earlier hits, complete with a string section. 

The track broke into the pop Top Ten during the summer of 1966 and restored The Chiffons to their hitmaking glory, though the charting followups 'Out Of This World' and 'Stop, Look And Listen' couldn't quite match its commercial vigor. The resultant Sweet Talkin' Guy album was home to the group's remake of The Angels' 63 chart-topper 'My Boyfriend's Back,' released as a single to negligible response. The quartet kept trying for another blockbuster with 1967's driving 'Keep The Boy Happy' (another Tokens-generated ditty) and the following year's stately 'Just For Tonight,' but apart from The Supremes, girl groups were no longer the juggernaut they were in the pre-British Invasion era. 'Love Me Like You're Gonna Lose Me' closed out The Chiffons' initial Laurie tenure in 1969. A single and LP emerged on B.T. Puppy (another Tokens project), and there was a Chiffons 45 on Buddah before Judy Craig exited the group in '71. 

Article properties: The Chiffons: Absolutely The Best

  • Interpret: The Chiffons

  • Album titlle: Absolutely The Best

  • Label FUEL

  • Genre R&B, Soul

  • Artikelart CD

  • EAN: 0030206143720

  • weight in Kg 0.1
Chiffons, The - Absolutely The Best CD 1
01 He's So Fine The Chiffons
02 One Fine Day The Chiffons
03 Sweet Talkin' Guy The Chiffons
04 Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow The Chiffons
05 My Boyfriends Back The Chiffons
06 Did You Ever Go Steady The Chiffons
07 Sailor Boy The Chiffons
08 I Have A Boyfriend The Chiffons
09 A Love So Fine The Chiffons
10 I Wonder Why The Chiffons
11 When The Boy's Happy (The Girl's Happy Too) The Chiffons
12 Just For Tonight The Chiffons
13 Tonight I Met An Angel The Chiffons
14 Keep The Boy Happy The Chiffons
The Chiffons The Chiffons He's So Fine When they weren't making hits of their own... more
"The Chiffons"

The Chiffons

The Chiffons

He's So Fine

When they weren't making hits of their own such as the 1961 chart-topper The Lion Sleeps Tonight, The Tokens' Bright Tunes Productions released them by others. Few were as gigantic as The Chiffons' He's So Fine.


The native New Yorkers came together in 1960 at James Monroe High School in the Bronx as a trio: lead Judy Craig (born August 6, 1944), Barbara Lee (born May 16, 1944), and Patricia Bennett (born April 7, 1944). Young Bronx songwriter Ronnie Mack, who penned Little Jimmy & The Tops' Puppy Love, introduced them to ex-Top Sylvia Peterson, who became their fourth member. Mack also gave them He's So Fine.  Laurie Records issued The Chiffons' effervescent rendition with Ronnie's Oh My Lover (some pressings had it Oh My Love) on the B-side.

He's So Fine took off for the moon, entering the pop hit parade in late February of 1963 on New York's Laurie logo and sitting at the top of the charts for nearly all of April. It was the same story on the R&B side, though it took until early March for it to break through. Their first followup, Lucky Me, missed the charts, but they rebounded with Carole King and Gerry Goffin's One Fine Day, a #5 pop/#6 R&B smash that summer. The Tokens reportedly took King's demo, wiped her voice off and replaced it with Craig and the girls. A Love So Fine went Top 40 pop that fall.

Peterson proved herself a capable lead on My Block, which rose to #67 that summer, but instead of putting it out as by The Chiffons, Laurie shuttled it onto its Rust subsidiary and released it as by The Four Pennies (ditto When The Boy's Happy [The Girl's Happy Too], a minor hit late in the year). Craig fronted The Chiffons' Laurie charters I Have A Boyfriend late that year, Sailor Boy in the summer of '64, and 1965's spacy Nobody Knows What's Goin' On (In My Mind But Me), led by Sylvia, which they lip-synched in the flick 'Disc-O-Tek Holiday.'

The Chiffons had a last blockbuster left, 1966's wonderful Top Ten throwback Sweet Talkin' Guy. Their encores Out Of This World and Stop, Look And Listen made minor chart blips. He's So Fine was in the news again when it was determined that George Harrison plagiarized its melody for his My Sweet Lord. Mack wasn't around to spend the settlement; Hodgkin's disease had claimed him back in 1963 (The Chiffons brought it full circle with a 1975 rendition of My Sweet Lord for Laurie). Lee died of a heart attack May 15, 1992 a day shy of her 48th birthday.

Various - Street Corner Symphonies Vol.15, 1963 The Complete Story Of Doo Wop

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Chiffons, The - Absolutely The Best CD 1
01 He's So Fine
02 One Fine Day
03 Sweet Talkin' Guy
04 Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
05 My Boyfriends Back
06 Did You Ever Go Steady
07 Sailor Boy
08 I Have A Boyfriend
09 A Love So Fine
10 I Wonder Why
11 When The Boy's Happy (The Girl's Happy Too)
12 Just For Tonight
13 Tonight I Met An Angel
14 Keep The Boy Happy