1962 The Blue-Belles – I Sold My Heart To The Junkman
In 1945, Ormand Wilson recruited three more singers and formed the Basin Street Boys. They released a few singles in 1946 and continued performing as a group into the early fifties. Their most notable song was I Sold My Heart To The Junkman, a very early doo-wop ballad.
Four young women from Chicago formed The Starlets in 1961. After a successful audition, songwriter Bernice Williams wrote a song for the group to record, Better Tell Him No. Pam Records signed the group to a contract and released the single, which reached #38 on the Hot 100 in 1961.
The Starlets performed at a show in Philadelphia in December 1961. While they were there, they met with Harold Robinson, the owner of Newtown Records. He had them record an up-tempo version of I Sold My Heart To The Junkman.
The group already had a contract in place with Pam Records, so Harold listed the group as the Blue-Belles when he released the song as a single.
The Ordettes were a local group already under contract with Newton Records: Patricia Holte, Cindy Birdsong, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash. Harold had the group appear as the Blue-Belles to lip-sync the song as a promotion on a local television show.
The Starlets were not amused. They sued over the release, and Harold settled with them by paying them $5,000 each.
Harold then had Patti change her name to Patti LaBelle, and the group began recorded their own music and appearing as Patti LaBelle and her Bluebelles. None of them actually sang on their successful single, but they still appeared on American Bandstand to promote the record. The single reached #15 on the Hot 100 and the top twenty on the R&B chart.
In 1963, their single Down The Aisle (The Wedding Song) reached #37 on the Hot 100 for Newton Records.
They recorded for several record labels during the next few years, but had little success.
In 1967, Cindy left the group and joined the Supremes, and the group changed their name to Labelle. It took awhile, but they eventually topped the charts in 1975 with the original hit version of Lady Marmalade.
The group splinted to successful solo careers and reunited to record a new album in 2008.
The Starlets released one more unsuccessful single in 1962 and then broke up.
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