The Shirelles were the top girl group in the country in 1960. They had an impressive seller that summer with the sleek Tonight's The Night, but their coronation was due to a remorseful theme written by young New York composers Carole King and Gerry Goffin. Lyrically,Will You Love Me Tomorrow was fairly heavy stuff, lead singer Shirley Owens wondering if her lover would treat her the same way the next day after they'd had sex (one had to read between the lines). Owens had initially informed Luther Dixon, her producer at Florence Greenberg's Scepter Records, that she didn't think she could sing the tune because it was too country!
Will You Love Me Tomorrow didn't sound country at all by the time The Shirelles got done with it. King, in charge of the music, and lyricist Goffin worked for Aldon Music, the domain of Al Nevins, formerly of The Three Suns, and street-smart Don Kirshner. Located at 1650 Broadway, up the street from Manhattan's Brill Building, the publishing firm specialized in youth-oriented material tailor-made for the violin-enriched uptown soul productions that The Shirelles favored as female counterparts to The Drifters. King went all out on the sumptuous arrangement; Dixon's production technique was similarly top-notch.
With the less ambitious but thoroughly delightful rocker Boys, penned by Dixon and Wes Farrell (and later recorded by no less than the Beatles), on the B-side, the sparkling ballad cracked the pop charts in November of 1960 and rocketed to #1 by late January of '61, missing the same happy fate on the R&B side by one slot. Owens, Addie 'Micki' Harris, Doris Coley, and Beverly Lee had come a long way from their Passaic, New Jersey beginnings and their first small hit for Decca, I Met Him On A Sunday (Ronde-Ronde).