Dixie Cups were sisters Barbara Ann (1943
- ) and Rosa Lee Hawkins (1945 - 2022)
and their cousin Joan Marie Johnson (1944 -
Raised in New Orleans, they first started
singing together in grade school and, later,
under the name the Meltones (not to be
confused with Mel Torme's singing group, The
Mel-Tones, from the 1940's and '50's, or The
MelTones, a surf rock instrumental band
originally formed in Canada in the
They came to the attention of local singer Joe
Jones, who’d had a hit in 1960 with the song
“You Talk Too Much.”
Jones hooked them up with legendary
writers/producers Leiber & Stoller, who
had their own label. Red Bird Records
spotlighted the Girl-Group sound.
(google them -- it would be easier to list the
rock ’n roll songs they DIDN’T write):
Lieber & Stoller asked Ellie Greenwich
& Jeff Barry to write a song for them.
(google them, too -- whatever songs Leiber
& Stoller didn’t write, Greenwich &
Barry probably DID.)
Greenwich & Barry had recently written a
song with Phil Spector.
Spector had recorded the Ronettes, the
Crystals, and Darlene Love singing the song
for his Philles label, but he wasn’t happy
with any of these versions.
As two/thirds of the copyright holders,
Greenwich & Barry offered the song to Red
Bird Records for the newly-named Dixie Cups to
girls weren’t nuts about the song, but, with
minimal musical accompaniment, they recorded
It was an instant classic.
"Chapel of Love" went to #1 -- and Phil
Spector went ballistic because he had missed
out on it!
The Dixie Cups recorded some follow-up songs,
which did well enough, but, since the girls
had a gentle, almost breathy sound (which
doesn’t sound that exciting coming out of a
transistor or car radio), the momentum that
“Chapel of Love” had generated for them
dissipated very quickly over the next year.
Here are a couple of their minor hits:
So, you ask, why include The Dixie Cups in
this limited-to-only-25-groups Advent
Calendar? They only had one major
Yes, it's true.
It was just one hit.
But what a hit!