#872: 1962, The Crystals, He’s A Rebel

by George_East on March 30, 2014

Well, not The Crystals at all, actually.  They were just the group that Phil Spector decided that the record would be attributed to.  The Crystals didn’t even know that it was  going to happen.  They were on tour, when they found out they had a hit record on their hands, that they hadn’t even heard let alone sung on.

The real artists behind He’s A Rebel, one of the quintessential Phil Spector wall of sound singles, were The Blossoms, led by the incomparable Darlene Love.

I didn’t know any of this until today when Mrs East and I went to see the Oscar winning documentary (currently in a cinema near you), Twenty Feet From Stardom, which tells the story of the great (largely female, largely African American) backing singers through the history of rock and pop.   Singers who very often were the thing that turned a good record into an astonishing one.

In many ways the documentary is Darlene Love’s story, though compared to some of the other singers featured  Love  has had much more public recognition.    Most of the others (singers like Tata Vega, Judith Hill and the ubiquitous Lisa Fischer) I had not even heard of until today, though they sang on some of the most famous records of all time.

I’ll do a more full review of the film, which is certainly worth seeing if you’ve got any interest in popular music’s history, in due course.

But for now let’s put something right – take it away Darlene Love….it was your number one single all along.

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