The group's first single featuring Charlie Thomas on lead vocal, "Sweets for My Sweet" reached No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 10 on the R&B chart, in October 1961. This was one of the few post-1958 Drifters singles that did not feature a string section. It also featured Jimmy Radcliffe and four female backup vocalists, all of whom would later have hit records, Cissy Houston, Doris Troy, Dionne Warwick, and Dee Dee Warwick. the recording also features an up in front piano provided by the song's co-writer, Mort Shuman. Other musicians on the recording included George Barnes and Allan Hanlon on guitar, Abie Baker on bass, Ed Shaughnessy and Gary Chester on drums and Bobby Rosengarden and Ray Kessler on percussion.
In 1963, "Sweets for My Sweet" became the debut single for Merseybeat band The Searchers, reaching number one on the UK Single Chart for two weeks that August. The Searchers' version was also issued in the US in the spring of 1964, but failed to chart.
The McCoys released a version of the song on their 1966 album, You Make Me Feel So Good.
In the UK, Tina Charles remade "Sweets for My Sweet" in 1977 in tandem with "Love Bug". The track was included on her album Rendezvous and issued as a single reaching #26; however the single edit only featured one chorus from "Sweets for My Sweet" at its close.
In 1994, C.J. Lewis reached #3 UK with his remake of "Sweets for My Sweet" which was also a major hit in Austria (#9), the Netherlands (#4), New Zealand (#3), Sweden (#16) and Switzerland (#16); the track also charted in Australia (#45) and France (#69).