Showing posts with label The Chiffons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Chiffons. Show all posts

The Chiffons - He's So Fine on The Fabulous 60's (1963)

The Chiffons - He's So Fine on The Fabulous 60's (1963)
"He's So Fine" is a song written by Ronald Mack. It was recorded by The Chiffons who topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in the spring of 1963. One of the most instantly recognizable Golden Oldies with its doo-lang doo-lang doo-lang background vocal, "He's So Fine" is also renowned as the plaintiff song in the now-infamous plagiarism case against George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord". Country music singer Jody Miller scored a Top Ten hit of her own in 1971 with her cover of "He's So Fine".



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There isn't a music fan alive that doesn't remember the nonsense syllables uttered by four young girls singing a song called "He's So Fine", blaring out of every 1963 transistor radio. "Doo Lang" became a part of Rock & Roll jargon when The Chiffons took the song for their own and took pop radio by storm.

The Chiffons were formed at James Monroe High School in The Bronx around 1960. Their story started when Ronnie Mack, a young songwriter, heard the group sing. Mack wrote songs for all the groups in his Soundview neighborhood. The Chiffons were originally a trio, Judy, Pat and Barbara. None of the girls had sung in a group before, nor were they interested in singing as a career. Judy wanted to become a dancer. They would just get together to sing for fun. Prior to her involvement in The Chiffons, Sylvia was a member of Little Jimmy and The Tops. The Tops recorded "Puppy Love" on V-Tone Records in 1959, which Mack had written. Sylvia, at 14, sings a double lead with Jimmy on the B-side ballad, "Say You Love Me".

The Chiffons musical influences were not popular Rock & Roll groups of the day, but jazz artists like Nancy Wilson and Nina Simone. Taken by their unique sound, Ronnie asked the group to record a song he had written called "He's So Fine". At first the girls balked, but after some persuasion, Ronnie won them over. He also suggested they take in Sylvia as a fourth member. The song featured Judy's warm, urbane lead. After recording the song, Ronnie shopped it around to several companies. He found a home for the song at Bright Tunes Productions, a company owned by The Tokens.

The Tokens were artists in their own right, recording the smash, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", as well as other chart items. The Tokens had founded Bright Tunes for their own creative output as producers, and The Chiffons were their first act. Bright Tunes, in turn, struck a deal with Laurie Records, which released "He's So Fine". This was the group's first waxing in a series of singles and LPs for Laurie and Bright Tunes. There was another group out of LA, named The Chiffons, who had brief chart action in 1960 with a version (same tracks) of The Shirelles' "Tonight's The Night", on Big Deal Records. Reissue LPs, some as early as 1964, feature the other group's songs, but the pictures are of the New York Chiffons. They are not the same group.

The success of "He's So Fine/Oh My Love" was well deserved. "He's So Fine" is full of catch phrases, including the introductory "doo langs". It's impossible to forget the lyrics. That lead-in became so identifiable with The Chiffons, it was used as a background pattern for other songs sung by the group and inspired The Tokens to write a song called "The Doo Lang" for Andrea Carroll. Unfortunately, Ronnie Mack did not see The Chiffons achieve this creative success. After penning one more tune for the group, he died of complications from Hodgkin's Disease. The Tokens were now producing The Chiffons recording sessions. The group's second single was the Ronnie Mack-penned "Lucky Me". It's flip was The Tokens' writing and production number, "Why Am I So Shy", with Sylvia on lead. Sylvia's voice was much different from Judy's. Judy's lead is smooth and aloof, while Sylvia's lead is quintessential and well phrased, with a clear, winsome tone. Having two leads varied the recordings, yet kept the overall Chiffons sound intact.
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