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The Crystals

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There are two artists with this name:

1). The Crystals were one of the most successful girl groups of the early 1960s, best remembered for the hit singles “He’s A Rebel”, “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Then He Kissed Me”.

2). The Crystals was also the name of a doo-wop group organised by the enigmatic Sun Ra in the mid-50s, as collected on the compilation Interplanetary Melodies on Norton Records.

3). If you are here for the Italian Progressive Rock band Crystals, they are not “The Crystals”. Refer to the Crystals band page for more information.

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In the late 1950s, Barbara Alston, Mary Thomas, Delores “Dee Dee” Kennibrew, Merna Girard and Patricia “Patsy” Wright formed The Crystals in high school under the leadership of Alston’s uncle, Benny Wells. Soon, the quintet signed with Phil Spector’s label Philles Records. Spector then chose Alston to be the group’s lead singer, which made her very uncomfortable since she had a fear of singing in front of audiences.

Their first hit was 1961’s “There’s No Other Like My Baby”. This song’s B-side “Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby” (featuring Wright on lead) and the following single “Uptown” were topical and socially-aware pieces about growing up in the ghetto. After the success of “Uptown”, a pregnant Girard was replaced by Dolores “LaLa” Brooks. The next single was 1962’s “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)”, still widely remembered though only rarely played on the radio due to the touchy subject matter of spousal abuse. Sales were sluggish.

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