Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Shirelles

The Shirelles Big Hit Album Baby It's You 

By 1962, we thought the Shirelles were as solid a part of our lives as the buttons on our car radios. For the past two years, and we know how long two years is in the life of a teenager, we had heard them broadcast several times a day. 

In 1962, they had a number one hit with "Soldier Boy", just like the number one they'd had in 1960 with "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow". In 61 there was no #1 but they were everywhere with 7 charted hits for the year. Two of those were numbers 3 and 4. Repeat play was the name of the radio game back then. If an artist had a hit, it would be heard several times a day on each station. If the radio was on 1960 to 64, I promise, you would have known the words to just about every Shirelles song. 

The Shirrels

They were good enough to listen to over and over. We, the teenagers at the time, loved to sing along with them. Their music was always about the things in a teenager's life. Judging by the record sales number, we obviously identified with them and their lyrics. Why wouldn't we ? They were just kids about our own age. 

The Shirelles

They were a group of teenage friends from a high school in Passiac, New Jersey. There's that New Jersey connection again. They found someone to listen and make them into a marketable product. They had hit after hit until the Beatles. They had a modicum of success in 64 but nothing big. After that the hits quit coming. 

The Shirelles music left a huge impression on us. We had lived the five years of hits with them. As a result, later, much later they would receive all kinds of honors.

The Shirelles

The Shirelles are now in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Rolling Stone Magazine named them #76 out of the top 100 rock artists of all time. Rolling Stone also recognized "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" was named #125  and "Tonights the Night" was named #401 of the Top 500 best songs of all time.

That pretty darned good for a handful of high school girls who liked to sing together. They set out to see if anyone would think enough of them to put them on a record. They found help and the rest is history. The Shirelles were the first of the rock and roll "girl groups" to have a number one hit. They broke that glass ceiling not once but twice.

The Shirelles

They recorded hits from 1958 to 67. In that time they had 34 hits with 14 in the Top 50, and 6 in the Top 10. The Shirelles had two Number 1's. Pretty darned good for those teenage gals from New Jersey. 

The Shirelles

Here are a few links. Go ahead. Punch that video link and put your self back about 50 years. Let the memories sweep over you like the waves of a cranked up car radio. You'll be glad you did, I promise !

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