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November 18, 2013

"He's A Rebel" — The Crystals (1962)

YouTube caption: "This highly influential 60s US female vocal group was the product of Phil Spector, for his pioneering Philles record label. They, along with the Ronettes, were one of the definitive 'Wall of Sound' groups of the 60s. They came together after meeting in the legendary Brill Building where the group was preparing demos for the Aberbach's famous publishing company Hill and Range. The line-up comprised Dee Dee Kennibrew (Dolores Henry, Brooklyn, New York, USA), La La Brooks (b. Brooklyn, New York, USA), Pat Wright (b. Brooklyn, New York, USA), Mary Thomas (b. Brooklyn, New York, USA) and Barbara Alston, who was their manager's niece. Spector was impressed and produced the debut 'There's No Other (Like My Baby)' in 1961. At this time Spector was developing his unique sound by mixing numerous layers of vocals and instruments onto one mono track. The blurred result was demonstrated on 'Uptown' but it was taken to its glorious extreme on Gene Pitney's song 'He's A Rebel.' The latter featured the lead vocals of Darlene Wright (Love) and, as Spector owned the name, he could use whomever he wanted as the Crystals. The song became a #1 single in the USA (UK #19). La La Brooks returned to the lead vocal on two further hits that have since become timeless classics, 'Da Doo Ron Ron' and 'Then He Kissed Me,' both major hits in 1963. The Beach Boys attempted a Spector-like production with their own version, 'Then I Kissed Her,' in 1967. The Crystals were soon overtaken when their mentor devoted more time to the Ronettes, and consequently their career faltered. New members passed through, including Frances Collins, and the band was prematurely banished to the nostalgia circuit."

Source: "The Encyclopedia of Popular Music" by Colin Larkin.

November 18, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink


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Oh Marianne,

"before things started to turn serious"

That's why I love the 50s/early 60s and Doo-Wop music!

I don't want to complicate things further.

Posted by: Joe Peach | Nov 19, 2013 6:19:50 PM

Wow, I LOVED that song and had totally forgotten about it! But I’ve never forgotten ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’ or ‘Then He Kissed Me.’ Bold, direct, right there at you, and the Crystals project that so well in the video. I used to especially like that instrumental riff. The 'Rebel' thing was fun back then, before things started to turn serious....thank you.

Posted by: Marianne | Nov 19, 2013 6:11:42 PM

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