Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Chantels

When Arlene Smith belts out “may-ay-ay-beee” at the start of this, she made the world safe for girl groups. But girl groups were not safe. You get sucked into that world, The Chantels, The Shirlelles, The Chiffons, The Vandellas, The Crystals, The Ronettes, The Shangri-Las, and you’re never the same…

The Chantels:

Maybe – Obviously there is more than one song called Maybe; there is one by Harry Nilsson; there is one by Janis Joplin. This is neither of those, though it’s not far in spirit from Janis. The song is a typical song of romantic longing, but it’s delivered with such passion, such emotion, such despair, that it stands alone in the annals of girl group records, kicking off the genre as a true vehicle of romantic angst as the existential human condition. Phil Spector was listening carefully. Arlene Smith sang lead on this. It was a hit in the winter of 1958.
Look In My Eyes – Much toned down here, Arlene was gone, replaced by Annette Smith (no relation), and with Arlene went the drama. This was a hit in the fall of 1961.

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