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!
The Cookies continued their Top 20 success with the rollicking "Don't Say Nothing Bad About My Baby." The monster hit eventually traveled to number 7 on the pop charts. The Cookies brand of pop had made one of the hottest girl groups around; so much so, that their first two A-sides and two new sides, "Foolish Little Girl," and the original version of "On Broadway," were included in the LP The Dimension Dolls. Little Eva and Carole King rounded out the album.
By mid-1963, the Cookies were at it again. "Will Power" b/w "I Want A Boy For My Birthday," rose to place at number 72 pop. A mild disappointment, the girls soon blazed back in to the top 40 with "Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys." A new raunchier style brought them to number 33, but the British Invasion would soon bring their success to a halt.
Although Earl-Jean usually fronted the group, Dorothy Jones was prominently featured on the group's final single. "I Never Dreamed" was by far the best record released under the Cookies' name. Produced in a brilliant faux-Spector style, the song was an unexplainable miss. The flip, "The Old Crowd," was a quintessential piece of girl pop, later covered by Leslie Gore. It too failed to generate much excitement.
By May, 1963, Earl-Jean had left the Cookies to pursue a solo career. Her first release, the original version of "I'm Into Something Good," was impeccably produced by Gery Goffin, and it soon blistered to number 38.
Meanwhile, a mysterious group known as the Cinderellas put out a superior double-sided single entitled, "Baby Baby (I Still Love You)/Please Don't Wake Me." Although it is almost certain that Dorothy Jones is on lead, the gals on back-up are less clear-cut. Some theories put the tune as merely a leftover Cookies' cut, still othes feel that this was a completely new backing line-up. Whatever the particulars, the song only topped out at number 117. (Other Cinderellas' recordings appeared on several labels during the sixties, but it is not known if these relate to the group that recorded this single.)
Earl-Jean followed up her hit with the glorious "Randy," but it didn't make a good impression. That coupled with the the even more successful cover of her first hit by Herman's Hermits (they brought it into the Top 20) spelled the end of all the girl's musical aspirations.
The Cookies apparently went into semi-retirement during the mid sixties, but by late 1966 they had signed to Warner Brothers Records. In April 1967 the group released a 2 minute and 51 second piece of pop which can only be described as one of the best examples of the era. Incredibly sophisticated, it was an unexplainable miss, save the fact that very few girl group releases were gaining much attention in those days. And that's the way the Cookies crumbled.
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