The Shirelles were an American girl group notable for their rhythm and blues, doo-wop and soul music…. while gaining popularity in the early 1960’s…..as they consisted of schoolmates Shirley Owens, Doris Coley, Addie “Micki” Harris and Beverly Lee.
Founded in 1957 for a talent show at their high school, they were signed by Florence Greenberg of Tiara Records….when their first single, “I Met Him on a Sunday”, was released by Tiara and licensed by Decca Records in 1958. After a brief and unsuccessful period with Decca, they went with Greenberg to her newly formed company, Scepter Records….where working with Luther Dixon, the group rose to fame with “Tonight’s the Night“….and then after a successful period of collaboration with Dixon….along with promotion by Scepter…..when seven top 20 hits followed….as the Shirelles left Scepter in 1966.
The Shirelles have been described as having a “naive schoolgirl sound” that contrasted with the sexual themes of many of their songs. Several of their hits used strings and baião-style music. They have been credited with launching the girl group genre….with much of their music reflecting the genre’s essence. Their acceptance by both white and black audiences….actually predated that of the Motown acts….and has been noted as reflecting the early success of the Civil Rights Movement. They have received numerous honors, including the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation….as well as being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996….and named one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time by Rolling Stone in 2004. Two of their songs, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”….as seen in this video herewith…. and “Tonight’s the Night”….were selected by Rolling Stone on its list of the greatest songs of all time.