Rosie and the Originals

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Rosie & the Originals
Rosie and the Originals.jpg
Background information
Origin San Diego, California, U.S.
Years active 1960–1963, 1969–1973
Members James Bentley
Gene Romero
Joe Yancho
Past members Rosie Hamlin
Noah Tafolla
David Ponce
Tony Gomez
Carl Von Goodat
Alfred Barrett

Rosie and the Originals were an American 1960s musical group best known for their single, "Angel Baby."[1] Fronted by lead singer Rosie Hamlin, the group produced two singles (including "Angel Baby") for Highland Records and, like many other artists of the era, ended up in protracted legal battles with their record label over royalties and credits.



Rosalie "Rosie" Méndez Hamlin was raised in Anchorage, Alaska before moving to California; she was of Mexican and English descent.[2] She was trained on piano in her youth, and started singing with a band at thirteen.[3] She wrote the lyrics for "Angel Baby" as a poem for "[her] very first boyfriend" when she was 14 years old, still attending Mission Bay High School in San Diego, California.[4] When she was 15, she and some friends rented the only recording studio they could find within 100 miles of San Diego located in San Marcos, California, to record the song. The studio was owned by an airplane mechanic who had taken part of his hangar to make it.[5] After taking the master to a department store, they convinced a manager to play it in the listening booth of the store's music department.[3] The song received positive reactions from teenage listeners, and a scout from Highland Records offered the group a recording contract, under the condition that the company take possession of the master recording, and that David Ponce be named as the author of the song, as he was the eldest member of the group.

"Angel Baby" made its radio debut in November 1960,[6] before the group had even received their contract. When the contract finally came, Hamlin found that she was ineligible to collect record royalties from the song because she was not listed as the songwriter. This led to the group's break-up, and although Hamlin secured the copyright to her music in 1961, decades of battles over royalties followed.

In 1961, "Angel Baby" was also released in Canada (#6) on the Zirkon label and in Australia and England on London Records. The British release slightly edited the intro.[7]

Departure from Highland Records[edit]

After leaving Highland Records, Hamlin recorded a full-length album with guitarist Noah Tafolla for Brunswick Records and toured with the label's other artists under her solo name. Hamlin and Tafolla married and had two children together. Their son, Joey Tafolla, is a guitarist best known for his solo career in the 1980s, and for being a member of the band Jag Panzer. In 1963, Hamlin retired from singing to spend time with her family. She returned to record singles in 1969 and again in 1973, performing occasionally throughout the 1970s and 1980s and more regularly throughout the 1990s and 2000s, which included performances at Madison Square Garden in 2002.[8]

Later years[edit]

In 1995, Rosie & the Originals were portrayed in the film My Family, performing "Angel Baby." Hamlin's part was played by Jeanette Jurado, of the group Expose.[9] In 1996, Linda Ronstadt recorded a version of "Angel Baby" for her album Dedicated to the One I Love.

In 1999, Ace Records released The Best of Rosie & the Originals, including all the Highland tracks as well as Brunswick recordings and unreleased tracks. The following year, the label released the album Angel Baby Revisited, with previously unreleased material. In 2002, Hamlin performed "Angel Baby" on a PBS-TV program, Red White & Rock. Hamlin died in Belen, New Mexico, on March 30, 2017, aged 71.[10][11]


In a 1969 interview with Life magazine, John Lennon named Hamlin as one of his favorite singers. As can be heard on circulating recordings, the Beatles mention the song "Give Me Love" during sessions on 01/24/69. Lennon and friends can be heard in a quickly busked version of "Angel Baby," taped at his birthday in 1971. Lennon recorded a studio version of "Angel Baby" for his 1975 Rock 'n' Roll album, but the track would go unissued until 1986's Menlove Avenue. Rosie and the Originals are referenced by Led Zeppelin in the liner notes from their 1973 album Houses of the Holy, following the printed lyrics of the song "D'yer Mak'er." The quote is "Whatever happened to Rosie and the Originals?" "Rosie" also shows up in the Led Zeppelin song "How Many More Times".



  • "Angel Baby"/"Give Me Love" (Highland, 1960)
  • "Why Did You Leave Me"/"Angel from Above"(Highland, 1961)
  • "Lonely Blue Nights"/"We’ll Have a Chance" (Brunswick, 1961)
  • "Lonely Blue Nights"/"We’ll Have a Chance" (Highland, 1961) [12]
  • "My Darling Forever"/"The Time is Near" (Brunswick, 1961)
  • "Kinda Makes You Wonder"/"My One and Only Love" (Globe, 1962)
  • "You're No Good"/"You Don’t Understand" (Wax World, 1973)


  • Lonely Blue Nights (Brunswick, 1962)
  • The Best of Rosie & the Originals (Ace, 1999)
  • Angel Baby Revisited (Ace, 2000)



  1. ^ Aquila, Richard (1989). That Old-time Rock & Roll: A Chronicle of an Era, 1954-1963. University of Illinois Press. p. 315. ISBN 978-0-252-06919-2. 
  2. ^ Ruiz, Vicki L. (2006). Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 308. ISBN 0-253-34680-0. Retrieved 2014-05-22. 
  3. ^ a b "Autobiography of Rosalie Hamlin". Retrieved October 27, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Rosie and the Originals". San Diego Reader. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Interview With Rosie Hamlin". Classic Bands. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ Tim Warden (1960-11-18). "KRLA 1110 Los Angeles Survey 11/18/60". Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  7. ^ "Rosie And The Originals Record Label Shots". Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  8. ^ "Rosie and the Originals" (PDF). Arkansas Tech University. Retrieved October 28, 2017. 
  9. ^ Mendoza, Bart (January 28, 2009). "Not So Quiet On The Set". San Diego Reader. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  10. ^ Kreps, Daniel (April 1, 2017). "Rosie Hamlin, Rosie and the Originals' 'Angel Baby' Singer, Dead at 71". Rolling Stone. 
  11. ^ San Roman, Gabriel (April 3, 2017). ""Angel Baby" Singer Rosie Hamlin of Rosie and The Originals Dead at 71". OC Weekly. Retrieved October 27, 2017. 
  12. ^ Capitalizing on the Brunswick Records release, Highland Records released an earlier version of Lonely Blue Nights to which they still retained distribution rights.

External links[edit]