Warner Bros. Records
The set includes Petula Clark's "Heart," but not her hit "Downtown."
The set includes Petula Clark's "Heart," but not her hit "Downtown." Warner Bros. Records
Think of hits by 1960s girl groups and The Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack" or The Shirelles' "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" come to mind. But what about "Needle in a Haystack" by the Velvelettes, or "I Never Dreamed" by The Cookies? A new boxed set compiles some of the forgotten gems of the era.
Courtesy Bertha McNeal
The Velvelettes, formed in 1961 on the campus of Western Michigan University, scored a Motown hit with their song, "Needle in a Haystack."
The Velvelettes, formed in 1961 on the campus of Western Michigan University, scored a Motown hit with their song, "Needle in a Haystack." Courtesy Bertha McNeal
"The perception of this music for a lot of people is that it's very innocent and lots of chiffon… when really this is some of best pop music that's ever been made," says Sheryl Farber, co-producer of One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds, Lost & Found, a collection of 120 songs on four CDs.
The producers use the term "girl group" loosely. The set also features solo acts, including Cher, Twiggy, Jackie DeShannon — even a young Dolly Parton, trying her hand at pop, with 1966's "Don't Drop Out."
Farber says the groups came together in unlikely ways. "One of the real misperceptions about this music is that they were just girl singers [plucked] randomly from cities," she says. "But they actually were really good friends who had found each other in high school and just loved to harmonize with each other. "
Once the record companies realized there was gold to be found in the girl-group sound, "they were kind of in search of that talent, and there was so much talent at that time all over in these schools. These girls could really sing. There's not one false note on any of these songs."