The Chiffons (1960-2009)

The Chiffons, a premier all-female American group, was formed in 1960 by three Bronx, New York born teenaged girls. They were the 14-year-old lead singer Judy Craig, born on August 6, 1946; Patricia Bennett, 13 was born on April 7, 1947; and Barbara Lee, 13, born on February 6, 1947, all in the Bronx. They all attended the James Monroe High School in the Bronx in 1960. Their first hit, “Tonight’s the Night” peaked at #76 on the R&B chart in 1960

The Chiffons became a quartet in 1963 after adding Sylvia Peterson, who was born on September 30, 1946, in the Bronx. Their first single after she joined the group was “He’s So Fine” which peaked at #1 on the R&B chart and sold more than one million copies. It also peaked at #16 in England. Their first album of the same name reached #97 on the Pop chart. Months later, the group released “I Have a Boyfriend” which peaked at #36 on the Billboard’s Best Seller list and remained on the chart for ten weeks. “One Fine Day,” their next bestseller, reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at #6 on the R&B chart. It was their first international hit, rising to #6 in New Zealand, #18 in France and #29 in the United Kingdom.

The following year, 1964, the Chiffons were one of the opening acts for the Beatle’s first United States concert at Washington Memorial Coliseum in Washington, D.C. Later that year they opened for the Rolling Stones on their first U.S. tour.

In 1965, the Chiffons signed with the Laurie label and soon after released “Nobody Knows What’s Going On In My Mind But Me.” They performed the song on various dance/music television programs including American Bandstand, Hullabaloo, and Shindig but the song failed to sell 500,000 copies, the standard level for a national “hit” record. In 1966, they released “Sweet-Talking Guy” which peaked at #4 on the Billboard 100 Chart, remaining there for 14 weeks. “Sweet-Talking Guy” was their last million-selling record.

In 1970, Judy Craig and Sylvia Peterson left the Chiffons. Peterson was replaced by Connie Harvey, born on February 19, 1946, in Brooklyn, New York. In 1976 they released “Dream, Dream, Dream” with “Oh My Lover” on the flip side. It was the last single produced by the Chiffons. Peterson rejoined the group in 1983.

On May 15, 1992, Barbara Lee died from a heart attack at the age of 45. The group, however, continued to perform with new members and founder Judy Craig who returned in 2009 to the group she founded 49 years earlier.

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