Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Blossoms

The Blossoms were based in LA and started in 1954 while still at high school. Then they were a sextet called the Dreamers and sang spirituals. The group was made up of Fanita Barrett, Gloria Jones, Jewel Cobbs, Pat Howard and twin sisters Annette and Nanette Williams. Richard Berry (singer) discovered them at a 1954 school talent show and took them on as backing singers. They appeared on several of his singles between 1954 and 1955 on the Flair label. Only "Bye, Bye" made the national R&B charts.

The Dreamers did have some chart success as backing singers with Jesse Belvin and ‘Good Rockin’ Daddy’ in 1955. By late 1956 the Dreamers were recording as a group. "Since You've Been Gone" and "Do Not Forget," were both written by Richard Berry and are now considered to be the forerunners of the girl group sound.

Fanita, Gloria and Annette also sang in The Rollettes making several recordings. When the group joined Capitol Records they became The Blossoms and between 1957 and 1958 released three singles but all failed to chart. Better success came again as backing singers on Ed Townsend’s “For Your Love".

In 1958, Darlene Wright (aka Darlene Love) replaced Annette and became the group’s lead singer. More chart success came when the Blossoms backed Sam Cook on "Everybody Love's to Cha-Cha-Cha" in 1959.

By 1960, the twins left and the group and there was now a trio. More Blossoms singles came but chart success failed to materialise. On the Challenge label, The Blossoms did eventually have a minor hit with "Son-In- Law' (#79) in 1961 and continued to work as backup singers with Duane Eddy (The Rebelettes) on "Dance with the Guitar Man" (1962).

In the same year Phil Spectre got the Blossoms and Bobby Sheen (high tenor) to sing a “He's a rebel” (written by Gene Pitney) and released the single under the name of The Crystals.

Spectre was in dispute with the group who refused to fly to LA and decided to record the new song without them. The single was a massive Number One hit in the US. Although The Blossoms were only paid a session fee, and never credited they did continue to work with him and even recorded a second Crystal’s single, "He's Sure the Boy I Love."(1963). It too charted.

Spectre renamed Darlene, and now called Darlene Love she and Fanita joined Bobby Sheen in a combo known as Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans. They had a few hit singles including a version of "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" (1962) before disappearing.

More success came when the girls sang with Shelley Fabares on "Johnny Angel" (1962) and with Doris Day on "Move Over, Darling" (1963).

It is more or less accepted The Blossoms probably sang on backup on most of the The Crystals and The Ronettes recordings including "Da Doo Run Run."

In 1966 the trio with Jean King (not Gloria Jones) became the resident backup singers on Shindig (ABC) and during 1964-1966 the group backed many of the performers.

In 1964 they released a single under the name The Wildcats but it went nowhere and two years later a series of singles by The Blossoms flopped. Throughout the late sixties and early 70s the group continued to record under their own name but despite label changes chart success failed to emerge. During this time they toured as backup singers with Elvis Presley then later with Tom Jones. In 1974 Darlene Love left the group to pursue a solo career and acting. Jean King died in 1983 but The Blossoms continued with Fanita and various line ups. Their last single which captures their original sweet sound was in 1989, entitled "Lonely Friday Night" and released on Classic Artists Records.

Worth a listen

The Dreamers
At Last
Wait For Me
Daddy, Daddy

The Blossoms
No Other Love (1958)
Write Me A Letter(1961)
Good, Good Lovin', (1966)
Lonely Friday Night (1989)

The Blossoms as backing singers with:
Jessie Belvin
Good Rockin’ Daddy (1955).

Ed Townsend
For Your Love (1958)

Sam Cook
Everybody Love's to Cha-Cha-Cha (1959)

Duane Eddy
Dance with the Guitar Man (1962).

Shelley Fabres
Johnny Angel (1962)

Doris Day
Move Over, Darling (1963)

The Crystals
He's a rebel (1962)
He's Sure the Boy I Love (1963)

The Ronettes
Da Doo Run Run (1963)

Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (1962)

The Wildcats
What Are You Gonna Do (1964)

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