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The Teddy Bears

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The Teddy Bears was a band that is perhaps most known for being Phil Spector’s first band.

Following his graduation from Fairfax high school in Los Angeles, Phil Spector became obsessed with a song, “To Know Him Is to Love Him”, he had written for his group, The Teddy Bears. After a hasty audition at ERA Records who offered to finance a studio session, The Teddy Bears - Spector, Marshall Leib, lead singer Annette Kleinbard, and last minute recruit, drummer Sandy Nelson - recorded the song at Gold Star Studios at a total cost of $75. Released on ERA’s Dore label in August 1958, it took a full two months before “To Know Him Is to Love Him” began to get air play.

The record eventually stayed in the “Hot Hundred” for twenty-three weeks, resided in the “Top Ten” for eleven of those weeks, and commanded the #1 chart position for three weeks. At age seventeen, Spector had written, arranged, played, sung, and produced the best-selling record in the country. Although subsequent releases by the Teddy Bears on the Imperial label were considered well-recorded soft pop, they did not sell, and within a year of their impressive debut, Spector had disbanded the group.

Spector was not the only Teddy Bear who went on to an illustrious career after the group broke up. Annette Kleinbard continued to write and record songs, and eventually changed her name to Carol Connors. Among her songwriting credits are the Rip Chords hit “Hey Little Cobra” and the Academy Award-nominated Rocky theme song “Gonna Fly Now.”

Not to be confused with Swedish band Teddybears Sthlm.

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