Deborah Chessler

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Deborah Chessler
Baltimore, Maryland, US
DiedOctober 10, 2012
Aventura, Florida, US
Other namesShirley Reingold
Known for"It's Too Soon to Know"

Deborah Chessler (1923 – October 10, 2012) was a songwriter whose song "It's Too Soon to Know" was number one on the American rhythm and blues charts in November 1948 and is considered by some to be the first "rock and roll" song.[1][2] Chessler has had songwriting credits on recordings every decade since then.[3]

Chessler pitched her songs to well-known musicians by singing them aloud, she didn't read or write music or play piano.[2] Some of her first sales were to Desi Arnaz and Lionel Hampton. She began to manage the Vibranaires, a group that would become the Orioles.[4] She got them booked on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts TV show where they came in third but were a popular success. Their first record, a single called "It's Too Soon to Know" had been previously recorded by Savannah Churchill.[5] The group's version of the song which came out in June 1948, was considered one of the first Rhythm and Blues songs and was said to have "ushered in the doo wop era".[1] [6] Her relationship with the band was notable because she was "a young Jewish woman managing a black vocal group in an age when the entertainment industry... was rigidly segregated."[1]

The group recorded other Chessler songs, including Tell Me So, I Need You Baby, and Forgive and Forget. Chessler left the group in 1954 in order to spend less time on the road and did not see the group again until the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1995.[7][8][9] Her time with the band was turned into a musical Soul Harmony: The Story of Deborah Chessler, Sonny Til & the Orioles.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Chessler grew up in Baltimore Maryland. She dropped out of high school to get married at seventeen.[2] She later remarried Paul Reingold and moved to Florida[1] They had one daughter, Wendy.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d Hinckley, David (2012-10-12). "Deborah Chessler, rhythm & blues pioneer, dead at 89". Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  2. ^ a b c Marcus, Greil (June 24, 1993). "Is this the woman who invented rock & roll?". Rolling Stone (659): 41-47. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Deborah Chessler". Discogs. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  4. ^ Groia, Philip (1983). They all sang on the corner : a second look at New York City's rhythm and blues vocal groups. West Hempstead, N.Y: P. Dee Enterprises. p. 16. ISBN 0-9612058-0-6. OCLC 10605179.
  5. ^ Chadbourne, Eugene. "Deborah Chessler - Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  6. ^ "Deborah Chessler". Pismotality. 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  7. ^ "History of the Orioles". Sonny Tils Orioles. 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  8. ^ Goldberg, Marv (1952-01-10). "THE ORIOLES". Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebooks. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  9. ^ "The Orioles". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 1950-11-05. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  10. ^ "Soul Harmony, Musical About Deborah Chessler, Sonny Til & the Orioles review and photos". Classic Urban Harmony. 2018-07-04. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  11. ^ Kelly, Jacques (2012-10-18). "Shirley Reingold, manager of vocal group The Orioles". Retrieved 2019-01-19.

See also[edit]