The Shirelles were formed in 1957 in Passaic, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Shirley Owens (b. 10th June 1941, Henderson, North Carolina, U.S.A.)
Beverly Lee (b. 3rd August 1941, Passaic, New Jersey, U.S.A.)
Doris Coley (b. 2nd August 1941, Goldsboro, North Carolina, U.S.A. d. 4th February 2000, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.)
Addie 'Micki' Harris (b. 22nd January 1940, Passaic, New Jersey, U.S.A. d. 10th June 1982, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.)
The Shirelles were an all female group from Passaic, New Jersey, who were hugely popular in the Sixties.
The group comprised of school friends Shirley Owens, Doris Coley, Addie ‘Micki’ Harris and Beverly Lee.
They were the first African-American girl group to top the Billboard Hot 100, with the song ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’.
Formed for a talent show at their high school, they were soon signed by the Tiara Records imprint.
Originally, the group performed under the name of The Poquellos (members Shirley Owens, Addie "Miki" Harris, Beverly Lee and Doris Coley), later changing their name to The Shirelles.
i met him on a sunday b/w i want you to be my boyfriend - 1958 / dedicated to the one i love b/w look a here baby - 1958
Their first single, on the Tiara imprint, was entitled ‘I Met Him on a Sunday’ in 1958.
After a short spell at the Decca imprint (and two singles, one being ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’), the group switched labels to Scepter Records.
Scepter re-released ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’ as a single again, which, in turn, peaked at number 89.
Collaborating with Luther Dixon, the Shirelles released the single ‘Tonight's the Night’, which was released in 1960 and peaked at number 39.
will you still love me tomorrow b/w boys - 1960 / baby it's you b/w the things i want to hear - 1961
‘Tonight’s the Night’ was followed by ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’, a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.
The song went on to become the first Billboard number-one hit by an African-American girl group.
the shirelles sing - 1961 / tonights the night - 1961 / give a twist party - 1962 / baby it's you - 1962
‘Tonight's the Night’ was later used as the title song for the 1961 album ‘Tonight's the Night’, which also included ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ and ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’.
Following the success, the Shirelles reissued ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’, which charted at number 3, followed by the singles ‘Mama Said’, ‘Baby It's You’, (penned by Burt Bacharach, Luther Dixon, and Mack David), ‘Soldier Boy’, and ‘Boys.
In 1963 Luther Dixon left Scepter, and the group continued.
Dionne Warwick replaced Shirley Owens and Doris Coley.
foolish little girl - 1963 / hear and now - 1965 / swing the most - 1965 / spontaneous combustion - 1967
They released the single ‘Foolish Little Girl’, after which the group discovered the royalties they believed they were owed, were held in a trust which did not exist.
A law suit followed, followed by a counter suit by Scepter, both of which were settled after a deal was reached in 1965.
The Shirelles, later, left Scepter in 1966.
happy and in love - 1971 / the shirelles - 1972 / eternally soul - 1973 / to know him is to love him - 1980
The Shirelles last single to chart was 1967's ‘Last Minute Miracle’, which peaked at number 99.
In 1968 Doris Coley left the group to attend to her family.
The Shirelles continued to record songs for several labels, including Bell Records, Blue Rock, RCA, and United Artists up until 1971.
Doris Coley returned to the fold as lead singer in 1975, replacing Shirley Owens, who left that year to pursue a solo career.
In 1982 Addie Harris died of a heart attack in the Hyatt Regency after two performances in Atlanta, Georgia with the group.
In 1983, the remaining three original members performed ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ with Dionne Warwick on her album ‘How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye’.
Afterwards, the original members toured in different versions of the group.
Doris Coley died in Sacramento, California on the 4th of February 2000, of breast cancer.
In 1994, The Shirelles were honored by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation with the Pioneer Award for their contributions to music.
Two years later they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2002, they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked them number 76 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
as the Shirelles:
Tonight's The Night (Scepter Records 1961)
The Shirelles Sing To Trumpets And Strings (Scepter / Top Rank Records 1961)
Baby It's You (Scepter / Stateside Records 1962)
Give A Twist Party (Scepter Records 1962)
Foolish Little Girl (Scepter Records 1963)
It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (Scepter Records 1963)
The Shirelles Sing The Golden Oldies (Scepter Records 1964)
Hear and Now (Pricewise Records 1965)
with King Curtis:
Eternally Soul (Wand Records 1970)
as the Shirelles:
Tonight's The Night (Wand Records 1971)
Happy And In Love (RCA Records 1972)
The Shirelles (RCA Records 1973)
Let's Give Each Other Love (RCA Records 1976)
Spontaneous Combustion (Scepter Records 1997)
Solo: Shirley Alston (Owens):
With A Little Help From My Friends (Strawberry Records 1975)
Lady Rose (Strawberry Records 1977)