Crystals placed six songs in the top twenty in 1962 and 1963 and helped
to set the stage for other acts that
would follow for their producer, Phil Spector. They helped Spector to establish his famous "Wall Of Sound."
group came from Brooklyn and was formed during the time Spector spent working
in New York City's Brill
Building. They consisted of original lead singer Barbara Alston, Dee Dee Kennibrew, Patsy Wright, and Myrna
Gerrard; others at various times including Delores "LaLa" Brooks, Mary Thomas, and Frances Collins. All of
them were from New York City.
first hit song for the Crystals was There's No Other [Like My Baby], a
number five R&B hit and number
twenty pop which was released on Spector's Philles label late in 1961. The Crystals recorded He Hit Me [But It
Felt Like A Kiss], a song that was controversial for its lyrical content and which was withdrawn from the market.
They followed it with Uptown early in 1962, the group's biggest hit to date.
returned to his home on the West Coast, where he liked to record songs
at Gold Star Studios in Los
Angeles. This was the same studio where he had recorded To Know Him Is To Love Him when he had been a
performer with the Teddy Bears in the late 50's, a song that had reached the top of the charts. Spector wanted to
record a piece that had been written by Gene Pitney, but the Crystals were in New York. He brought in some LA
session singers [including members of the Blossoms] and recorded the song, He's A Rebel, at Gold Star. The lead
vocal was done by Darlene Love of the Blossoms, who had done backup vocals on some other well-known songs
such as Johnny Angel. Darlene Love had a powerful voice, one that is considered by some today as one of the best
ever in rock-and-roll. The result was a number one hit on Philles for the Crystals, even though it had been
performed by singers who were not members of the group that had released the earlier Crystals' hits. This lineup
had another hit early in 1963, He's Sure The Boy I Love, which just missed the top ten and again featured a strong
vocal performance by Darlene Love.
the old group of Crystals wasn't finished yet. In 1963 they recorded Da
Doo Ron Ron [When He Walked Me
Home]. This time the lead vocalist was LaLa Brooks, and the song was a smashing success, peaking at number
three. LaLa also did the lead on the group's next [and final] top ten hit, Then He Kissed Me, a song that Spector
would later say he considered to be his best one ever. It was these two songs probably more than any others that
helped to form what came to be known as Phil Spector's "Wall Of Sound."
minor hits followed, such as All Grown Up and Little Boy in 1964. The Crystals'
producer had by this time
established a solid reputation in the music business and was turning his attention to working with other groups, such
as the Ronettes and the Righteous Brothers.
Crystals had recorded the original versions of some noted songs written
by the stable of songwriters in the
Brill Building, but they were records which had never been issued. Some of these were turned into hits by other
artists, such as It's My Party and Chapel Of Love. Another such song, I Wonder, was issued only in the UK and is
coveted by record collectors today. Da Doo Ron Ron and Then He Kissed Me were reissued and became hits on
the UK charts in 1974.
Crystals have toured in the 80's and 90's with oldies shows, this time
with original member Dee Dee
Kennibrew serving the role of lead singer. They are remembered as one of the first and best of the fabulous girl
groups of the 60's.