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The Shirelles

The Shirelles were the first major female vocal group of the rock era, defining the so-called girl group sound with their soft, sweet harmonies and yearning innocence. Their music was a blend of pop/rock and R&B -- especially doo wop and smooth uptown soul -- that appealed to listeners across the board, before Motown ever became a crossover phenomenon with white audiences. Even if the Shirelles were not technically the first of their kind, their success was unprecedented, paving the way for legions of imitators; their inviting musical blueprint had an enduring influence not just on their immediate followers, but on future generations of female pop singers, who often updated the style with a more modern sensibility. What was more, they provided some of the earliest hits for important Brill Building songwriters like Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Burt Bacharach & Hal David, and Van McCoy.

The Shirelles were originally formed in 1958 in Passaic, NJ, by four high school friends: Doris Coley (later Doris Kenner-Jackson), Addie "Micki" Harris, Shirley Owens (later Shirley Alston), and Beverly Lee. Christening themselves the Poquellos, the girls wrote a song called "I Met Him on a Sunday" and entered their school talent show with it. A school friend had them audition for her mother, Florence Greenberg, who ran a small record label; she was impressed enough to become the group's manager, and changed their name to the Shirelles by combining frequent lead singer Owens' first name with doo woppers the Chantels. The Shirelles' recording of "I Met Him on a Sunday" was licensed by Decca and climbed into the national Top 50 in 1958. Two more singles flopped, however, and Decca passed on further releases. Greenberg instead signed them to her new label, Scepter Records, and brought in producer Luther Dixon, whose imaginative, sometimes string-heavy arrangements would help shape the group's signature sound.

"Dedicated to the One I Love" (1959) and "Tonight's the Night" (1960) both failed to make much of an impact on the pop charts, although the latter was a Top 20 R&B hit. However, they broke big time with the Goffin-King composition "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"; released in late 1960, it went all the way to number one pop, making them the first all-female group of the rock era to accomplish that feat; it also peaked at number two R&B. Its success helped send a re-release of "Dedicated to the One I Love" into the Top Five on both the pop and R&B charts in 1961, and "Mama Said" did the same; a more R&B-flavored outing, "Big John," also went to number two that year. 1962 continued their run of success, most notably with "Soldier Boy," a Luther Dixon/Florence Greenberg tune that became their second pop number one; they also had a Top Ten pop and R&B hit with "Baby It's You." Unfortunately, Dixon subsequently left the label; the Shirelles managed to score one more pop/R&B Top Ten with 1963's "Foolish Little Girl," but found it difficult to maintain their previous level of success.

The group went on to record material for the film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, headlined the first integrated concert show in Alabama, and helped a young Dionne Warwick get some of her first exposure (subbing for Owens and Coley when each took a leave of absence to get married). A money dispute with Scepter tied up their recording schedule for a while in 1964, and although it was eventually settled, the Shirelles were still bound to a label where their run was essentially over. Of course, this was also because of the British Invasion, whose bands were among the first to cover their songs; not only their hits, but lesser-known items like "Boys" (the Beatles) and "Sha La La" (a hit for Manfred Mann). The Shirelles scraped the lower reaches of the charts a few more times, making their last appearance, ironically, with 1967's "Last Minute Miracle." Doris Kenner left the group the following year to concentrate on raising her family, and the remaining Shirelles continued as a trio, cutting singles for Bell, United Artists, and RCA through 1971. The group continued to tour the oldies circuit, however, and appeared in the 1973 documentary Let the Good Times Roll. Shirley Alston left for a solo career in 1975, upon which point Doris Kenner-Jackson returned. Micki Harris died of a heart attack during a performance in Atlanta on June 10, 1982, upon which point the group went into what turned out to be a temporary retirement; the three remaining charter members recorded together for the last time on a 1983 Dionne Warwick record. Different Shirelles lineups toured the oldies circuit in the '90s, though Beverly Lee eventually secured the official trademark. They were officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Doris Kenner-Jackson passed away after a bout with breast cancer in Sacramento on February 4, 2000. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
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Comments

I love these gals. Saw them in concert 2 years ago at Grand Casino, Hinckley, Minnesota... . . t h e y still know how to put on a fantastic show.
Met the Shirelles in the ladies room a long ,long, time ago.
Ahh, jr hig school days. Miss them even though I was beat up a lot back then.
rivers4rose1 9
For my husband..in los cellos...mis s you..
yes it is
prado.joe
Don't know about you but this ia the best music in the north the south the east and the west quivo? Plnx13
Ahhh The girls from Passaic
Smoothly soul....
Mommy always played their music around the house! They were and are legends in the industry.
taniahalaby1 2
Madonna
Like a prayer
taniahalaby1 2
Mr today sun church teamo anthony
I love this music because it brings me confort to my soul..
Amo a esta musica
The BEST MUSIC, it will never die.
Jayd go to Ur rm lol
though, I'm only 21, I grew up listening to this kind of music. nostalgic
were the first major female vocal group of the rock era... dope.
mama said ther'd be days like this I don't remember anything about 10 inches of snow & 40 below wind chill factor
I dnot thing she will love me to more any more ps gilberto morales :''(
Imissthe shirelles songs
Will you still love me tomorrow was a great hit and now it's a hit again and is in Bachata style by a young N.Y. Doninican singer . It you want to listen her name is Leslie Grace Spanglish Bachata .She sings great . M...Alfaro
There'll be days like this, my marmoset.
Mama said there'd be days like this....she didn't say anything about 75 days in a row
Reminds me of high school my true love who is now in heaven. Makes me want to cry. Time goes to fast. 30 years together wasn't long enough. Still missing you Gary. Ily
wkb4447
Jr. High dances once a month on Thursday afternoons. Required song. Thanks for the memories, Sue.
favorite girl group,shirle y still sounds great in concert today
Dedicated to the One I Love>>remind s me Don't follow me and I'll follow you back>>Pray for me and I'll pray for you back
This is how it goes with me...arrived in this country at 14 1/2 years of age, away from my family and the people I loved. How did I survive...WH O CANNOT GET UP AND DANCE AND SCREAM AND BE SO HAPPY AND, FOR A WHILE, FORGET YOUR PENASLISTENI N G TO THE SHIRELLES, I LOVE YOU GIRLS!!. I LOVE YOU SHIRELLES!!! ! !
J
these artist are one in a million. they dont make music like this anymore. i cherish these memories till i die. thank you motown.
mcj17car
Songs from the 60's don't belong on 50's station!
You can have your Supremes. Give me my Shirelles!!! ! The girls made it on talent and were not a packaged deal. No girl group has ever challenged the Shirelles' legacy!!!.
Motown was something you needed to experience. I thank God that was he era that I grew up with... Sweet, sweet soul music.. Friday nites at the drive in with my girl
Love ever present
robertchevy5 6
the songs of looking for finding love happy& sad times but it was a great time for real music not like the stuff of today
elvaspin99
Yeah this song sounds good right now i wonder if she will still love me tomorrow? Jesse & Susie
forren6
Bobonnit that is what I was going to post that this song was pushing the envelope back then. (Tonight I'm yours completely)
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow ? was a pretty racy song and subject for the early 60's. The Shirelles were great, helped by the wonderful song composers and musical arrangers that gave them that distinct sound.
This song makes me happy
sspaw33
AH, ACTUAL SINGING, HARMONY.. LOVE IT! NOTHING BEATS THE OLDIES
Bobby.d
Best cruzin music on the planet
Amazing song.......h e a r t f e l t deep true!
If there is any music better than this music, God kept it for himself.
Oh the memories.
Oldies are the best no match
I love their music
southaid
This music promotes foot tapping, finger snapping, shoulder jerking and lerics make sense or logical
I enjoy the similar artist
Do you really think record labels can't find voices like these anymore? F@CK you record executives, you are the parasites of music.
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