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Earl-Jean McCree was the original lead singer of The Cookies.

The Cookies’ story begins in the 1950’s. Recordings for Lamp Records and Atlantic went unnoticed for the most part, then Gerry Goffin and his new wife Carole King produced a record called “It’s Unbearable” for one Dorothy Jones. Released on Columbia Records, it was a valiant effort, but ultimately it failed to draw attention to the young singer. Dorothy, however, had made some valuable connections in the music business, including a friendship with Earl-Jean McCree, and Margaret Ross.

The group, known as the Cookies, began singing back-up for several Aldon artists like Tony Orlando, Connie Francis, and Neil Sedaka. Meanwhile, McCree had recommended Eva Boyd as a baby sitter for Goffin and King. Boyd, soon christened Little Eva, went on to become the fourth, and alternate, Cookie.

Moving on to 1962, Goffin and King were inspired to write “The Loco-motion” when they saw Eva dancing to the raido. With the Cookies strong back-up, the song powered up the charts to eventually reach number one. Another Eva song, “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby,” soon was scratching just outside the Top 10; Mel Torme also used the group on his hit “Comin’ Home Baby.”

Singing back-up was fine, but the Cookies craved the big time, and Don Kirshner, owner of Dimension Records, gave them their chance. The girls released the sweet rhythm ballad, “Chains,” later covered by the Beatles. It had all the elements of hit girl group record of the time, and soon, it launched itself into the Top 20. The record actually included Carole on back-up!


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