Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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DIXIE CUPS, The

US female vocal group of mid-'60s: Joan Marie Johnson (b 15 January 1944; d 5 October 2016), sisters Rosa Lee (b '44) and Barbara Ann Hawkins (b '43). They were discovered at a high school talent contest in New Orleans by local promoter Joe Jones, who with Sylvia Venderpool Robinson helped them get to New York where they auditioned for the Red Bird label, rehearsing a new song, 'Chapel Of Love' by producers/writers Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, and Phil Spector, who had produced his own version with the Ronettes (later on LP) and the Crystals (unissued). His strange reluctance to do much with an obvious hit prompted Barry/Greenwich to record the Dixie Cups (originally called Little Miss and the Muffets); it was an international smash hit, no. 1 USA '64, famously knocking the Beatles out of the top spot. Other hits were 'People Say', 'You Should Have Seen The Way He Looked At Me'; then the chanting of a traditional New Orleans song during a lull in a recording session led to their last hit 'Iko Iko' (no. 20 '65) with simple percussive backing, call-and-response vocal. As with many girl groups, success was brief but unforgettable.