Considered by many to have been the best of the girl groups, the Chantels were one of the first female R&B vocal groups to have nationwide success.
The Chantels hits "Maybe" and "Look in My Eyes" are rock 'n' roll classics.
Arlene Smith - lead singer(15 years old), Sonia Goring (16 years old), Lois Harris (16 years old), Jackie Landry (16 years old), Reene Minus (13 years old)
Words and Music by R. Barret
We associate the Girl Group Sound with the early 1960s, but The Chantels were making great records as early as 1957, including a number of hits. The five original members--lead soprano Arlene Smith, top soprano Lois Harris, lower alto and bass Rene Minus, second soprano Sonia Goring and second alto Jackie Landry--got together at St. Anthony of Padua School in the Bronx, where they were trained to sing Gregorian chants, and named themselves The Chantels after a neighboring Catholic school, St. Francis de Chantelle. An impromptu audition for producer Richard Barrett on 54th Street in Manhattan led to their first recording session in April 1957 for George Goldner's new End label.
Their first single, "He's Gone," became a regional hit, thanks to steady airplay by Alan Freed, Dr. Jive and Jocko Henderson, and from the first note it was obvious that this was a vocal group with an ethereal sound unlike anything that had ever been recorded before. Then came their follow-up, a poignant number called "Maybe" that climbed to #15 on the national pop charts and stayed in the Top 40 for three months in early 1958. Their third and fourth singles, "Every Night" and "I Love You So," reached #39 and #42, respectively.
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