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the crystals

The Crystals

The Crystals (at various times) comprised of:

Delores 'Dee Dee' Kennibrew (1960-64) (b. Dolores Henry, 1945, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.)

Myrna Girard (1960-62)

Dolores 'La La' Brooks (1962-66) (b. 1946, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.)

Patricia 'Patsy' Wright (1960-64) (b. 1945, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.)

Mary Thomas (1960-62) (b. 1946, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.)

Frances Collins (1960-64)

and

Barbara Alston (1960-64) (b. 1945)

The Crystals were formed in Philadelphia in 1960, and were together for 6 years, disbanding in 1966.

Based in New York, the Crystals are considered to be the ‘state of the art’ girl group from the early Sixties era.

They recorded several sides, considered to be rock classics, including ‘There's No Other (Like My Baby)’, ‘Uptown’, ‘He's Sure the Boy I Love’, ‘He's a Rebel’, ‘Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)’ and ‘Then He Kissed Me’.

These hits were all produced by Phil Spector.

The Crystals

the crystals in 1962: l to r: barbara alston, mary thomas, patricia wright, dee dee kennibrew and dolores brooks

In 1961, Barbara Alston, Mary Thomas, Dolores Kennibrew, Myrna Girard and Patricia Wright formed The Crystals, prior to signing with Phil Spector's imprint Philles Records.

Crystals 45Crystals 45

there's no other (like my baby) b/w oh yeah, maybe baby - 1961 / he's a rebel b/w i love you eddie - 1962

In 1961, the group released their first single (and hit) ‘There's No Other (Like My Baby)’.

The track was recorded whilst the girls were still at Central Commercial High School, the same night they were attending the school prom.

Still in their prom dresses, they journeyed to the studio straight from school.

The song became a hit in 1962.

Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil penned their follow up single ‘Uptown’ b/w 'What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen', which also became a hit.

Myrna Girard then departed the group and was replaced by Dolores Brooks.

Carole King and Gerry Goffin penned their next 45, ‘He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)’ b/w 'No One Ever Tells You'.

The track was less successful due to it’s subject matter, and Phil Spector turned to the singer Darlene Love and The Blossoms, recording them as another version of The Crystals.

Phil Spector used his version of the Crystals in order to more speedily release songs from his New York base.

The CrystalsThe Crystals

twist uptown - 1962 / he's a rebel - 1963

The newer version of the Crystals recorded the Gene Pitney Penned, song ‘He’s A Rebel’, a song which had originally been offered to The Shirelles.

The track became the Crystals only number one U.S. hit record.

The original Crystals began recording again under the Crystals name in 1963.

Mary Thomas then left the group to get married, seeing the group reduced to a quartet.

Dolores Brooks then became the group’s lead vocalist.

The Crystals next release was the evergreen ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’.

The song was a top 10 hit in both the U.S. and the U.K.

In 1964, the Crystals flew to the U.K. for their first European tour.

‘Then He Kissed Me’ became a big hit in the U.K., with the group making appearances on the TV programs ‘Ready Steady Go’, and ‘Saturday Night At the Palladium’.

The Crystals

By this time, the relationship between the group and Phil Spector had become an unhappy one.

Phil Spector was spending more time on his other girl group The Ronettes.

Disputes over royalties emerged, and only two further singles were released by the Philles imprint.

‘Little Boy’, was released in 1964, followed by ‘All Grown Up’.

The same year Patricia Wright left the group, and was replaced by Frances Collins.

Barbara Alston then left, leaving the Crystals as a trio.

After switching labels to United Artists in 1965/6, they released two 45’s, namely ‘You Can't Tie a Good Girl Down’ b/w 'My Place' and 'I Got A Man' b/w 'Are You Trying To Get Rid Of Me, Baby'.

One further single was released on the Michelle Records imprint in 1967, entitled ‘Ring-a-Ting-a-Ling’ b/w 'Should I Keep On Waiting' before they disbanded in 1967.

Dolores Brooks

dolores la la brooks in 2012

The Crystals reunited in 1971 and continue to perform to the present day.

Delores Kennibrew is the only original Crystal who still remains a group member to the present.

The late Amy Winehouse stated ‘He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)’ as an influence whilst writing her 2006 album ‘Back to Black’.

Real Player

Albums:

Twist Uptown (Philles Records 1962)

He's A Rebel (Philles Records 1963)

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