Hello, The Shirelles are an R&B/Rock and Roll girl group from Passaic, New Jersey. Members included Shirley Alston, Beverly Lee, Doris Kenner and Addie Harris. The group was formed while the girls were in junior high school as the Poquellos. They were high school classmates of Joey Dee. The Shirelles first recorded on the Tiara Records label in 1958.
Their first hit record made its Billboard Top 100 debut on April 21, 1958 . Originally released on Tiara Records, I MET HIM ON A SUNDAY (Ronde-Ronde) was purchased by Decca Records for better distribution. The single charted at #49 and remained on the Top 100 for 10 weeks. In 1959 The Shirelles were on their new label, Scepter Records. In July they released, DEDICATED TO THE ONE I LOVE. The song was not a big hit, reaching #83 on the Billboard Hot 100. In September of 1960 they released another single, TONIGHTS THE NIGHT and this time they had a big hit record. The single charted at #39 on the Hot 100 and crossed over to the Billboard R&B chart, where it reached #14. The Shirelles were on their way.
Their next record came in November of 1960, and went right to the top of the chart, WILL YOU LOVE ME TOMORROW backed with BOYS became a huge national hit. Charting at #2 on the R&B chart and going all the way to #1 on the Hot 100. The single remained on the chart for 19 weeks. Their follow-up was their 1959 recording of DEDICATED TO THE ONE I LOVE. This time the single hit it big, reaching #3 on the Hot 100 and remaining on the national chart for 16 weeks. The single became the #2 hit on the R&B chart.
The hits would keep coming, in April of 1961 MAMA SAID became their next hit, reaching #4 pop and #2 R&B. They would have a #2 R&B hit with BIG JOHN in October of 1961. The Shirelles would have another huge hit record to close out 1961, their classic, BABY IT’S YOU, a #8 Hot 100 hit and a #3 R&B smash. The group was ready and greeted 1962 with their second #1 hit, SOLDIER BOY. The single charted on March 24, 1962 and remained on the pop chart for 14 weeks. The single charted at #3 on the Billboard R&B chart. Sales of SOLDIER BOY were over 1 million copies and The Shirelles were awarded a “Gold Record”.
Hits records continued through 1962. In 1963 they were back in the Top 10 when in March, FOOLISH LITTLE GIRL began its 14 week run on the Hot 100 climbing all they way to #4 and #9 on the R&B chart. The record would be the groups last Top 10 hit on the Hot 100 although they would continue to chart records through 1967. There would be one more R&B Top 10 hit, TONIGHT YOU’RE GONNA FALL IN LOVE WITH ME charted at #4 R&B and at #57 on the Hot 100.
In their career The Shirelles would chart 35 records on the Billboard Pop Chart and 15 on the Billboard R&B chart. The group would be ranked at #35 in the 1960’s by Joel Whitburn of Record Research “Top Pop Singles”. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. I was very fortunate to see them perform in 1964…they were wonderful!!!
In June of 1982 Addie Harris passed away at the age of 42 and in February of 2000, Doris Kenner died at the age of 58. The Shirelles music stands the test of time and sounds as good today as when the hits were coming out of our AM radios. The Shirelles are wonderful reminder of just how good the music was in the, “Golden Era Of Rock And Roll”.
Till the next time—Joe