Airdate – Sep 19, 2021
Can you imagine recording a hit record in your prom dress? Well that’s what happened to three members of a female quintet in the spring of 1961 on the night of their high school graduation.
This female harmony group hailed from different sections of Brooklyn, New York and was put together by former big band musician Benny Wells who turned his attention to managing in 1960.
Wells would acquire material from local songwriters for his artists. One such songwriter was Leroy Bates whose sister-in-law, Pat Wright, became the fifth member of our featured group.
While rehearsing one of Bates’ song in March of 1961 they met Phil Spector who proceeded to take them under his wing.
Spector re-arranged Bates’ up-tempo song, slowing it down and creating an extremely different feel … a feel reminiscent to songs previously released by the Chantels of “maybe” fame.
This was not a stretch for the girls as they had been influenced by groups like the Chantels, the Bobbettes, and the Shirelles. However, Spector had a different goal in mind and that was to redefine the girl group style.
He was most successful doing so, with 10 releases on his Philles recording label appearing on the Billboard charts over a course of less than three years.
If you are wondering just who this girl group was, let me take you back to 1961 and the home of songwriter Leroy Bates. You see the group was named after Leroy’s baby daughter, “Crystal.”
That prom night session with Phil Spector that produced the Crystals’ first charted release went unusually smooth and took only 3 hours to record. According to soprano member Dee Dee Kennibrew, it was “my favorite Crystals song as it had more of an R&B feel than anything we did after that.”
So back we go to 1961. With corsages wilting, here’s the Crystals lamenting that “There’s No Other (Like My Baby),” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
For a YouTube video of this song click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IywoiN887xg