Sunday, April 27, 2008

Boss Tracks, A Love So Fine, The Chiffons

"A Love So Fine" is the bookend of a bona fide Doo Wop trilogy, the legendary three strikes of the Chiffons. The song was a staple in Springsteen's sets in '74 and '75, further cementing my theory that Springsteen was as much influenced by early Pop records as he was by the British Invasion bands. Springsteen turned the sweet harmonies of the Chiffons in a R&R blow out with Clarence raving on the saxophone. In Springsteen's hands "A Love So Fine" proved a very effective show stopper filled with raggedy harmonies and high energy R&R. The song was a hit in 1963, but as so many of these glorious R&R stories it almost never happened. The Chiffons' manager Ronnie Mack had boasted he had a mighty fine girl group for production company Bright Tunes to produce. Bright Tunes was run by the Tokens, who had their own immortal smash with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", one of those songs that unfortunately won't ever die. In truth the Chiffons had never scored a hit and not without reason, they lacked a powerful lead singer. Mack scrabled and found one, Sylvia Peterson, who in turn came from Little Jimmy & The Tops. With that group Sylvia's only claim to fame had been the Doo-Wop ditty "Puppy Love", a regional hit but nothing big.

With Sylvia in the Chiffons, they scored their first 'fine' hit with "He's So Fine". The song soared up the charts, making it all the way to the number one spot on the Pop charts. When their next single flopped they tried it with the second installment of what would become their trilogy, the Carole King and Gerry Goffin penned "One Fine Day" and struck gold again. The Tokens realized they ad a regular money making machine at their hands and tried to milk it all they could by having the Chiffons record on under another name as well, The Four Pennies. In the days before videos such a plot was still conceivable. The ploy worked, because under that name a few minor hits were scored as well. As I said before "A Love So Fine" was the book end to the trilogy in 1963. Within one year the Chiffons managed to get quite a bit of chart action with those 'fine' songs. After the third installment the Chiffons would push on for a few years, but they finally disbanded in '76. In the thirteen years between the great trilogy and their last recording they would score exactly one hit, also in 1963 with "I Have A Boyfriend". In the year that followed the British would take over causing this fine girl group from the Bronx to be out off vogue overnight.

The Chiffons

MP3 File

Bruce Springsteen

MP3 File


Howard said...

Just a short thank you for a great blog -- always well written, informative, and interesting.


SoulBoogieAlex said...

Thanks Howard, appreciated!