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The Chiffons

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The Chiffons
The Chiffons in 1966
The Chiffons in 1966
Background information
Also known asThe Four Pennies
OriginThe Bronx, New York City, United States
Years active1960–present
Past members
  • Barbara Lee
  • Sylvia Peterson

The Chiffons were an American girl group originating from the Bronx, a borough of New York City, in 1960.



The group was originally a trio of schoolmates - lead singer Judy Craig, backed by Patricia Bennett and Barbara Lee - enrolled at James Monroe High School in the Bronx in 1960.[2] In 1962, at the suggestion of songwriter Ronnie Mack, the group added Sylvia Peterson, who had sung with Little Jimmy & the Tops at age 14, sharing lead vocals with Jimmy on "Say You Love Me", the B-side of the Tops' 1959 local hit "Puppy Love".


The group chose the name The Chiffons while recording and releasing their first single, "He's So Fine",[2] written by Ronnie Mack, produced by The Tokens of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" fame, and released on the Laurie Records label. "He's So Fine" hit No. 1 in the United States, selling over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[3] (This sales figure would have qualified the record for platinum status under the current [as of 2011] RIAA certification standards, effective since 1975, that lowered the "gold" certification threshold to 500,000 copies and set the "platinum" threshold at 1 million.)

The Chiffons immediately released their first LP He's So Fine (which charted at No. 97) and began touring the East Coast and Midwest states primarily. Within a few months, the group released their second LP, One Fine Day.[2]

The group also released two singles in 1963 as the Four Pennies (with Sylvia on lead) on the Laurie Records subsidiary Rust, but they abandoned the Four Pennies name as the success of "He's So Fine" became clear. This first hit was followed by other notable tunes such as Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "One Fine Day", "Sweet Talkin' Guy" and "I Have A Boyfriend". As the 1960s progressed, Peterson assumed a more prominent role in the group, singing lead on the Chiffons' "Why Am I So Shy"; "Strange, Strange Feeling"; "The Real Thing"; "Up On The Bridge"; and "My Block" (written by Jimmy Radcliffe, Carl Spencer and Bert Berns).

Shortly after the first round of hits, the Chiffons had business problems but still continued to tour the US throughout 1964 (including Murray the K Shows and as part of a package tour headlined by Gene Pitney). In mid-1965, they signed directly to the Laurie label, and had a hit with "Nobody Knows What's Going On In My Mind But Me". To promote the record, Sylvia and Barbara flew to the West Coast to premiere the disc on a July 1965 Shindig episode, with two substitute members as Judy and Pat were on maternity leave.

The next Top 10 hit for the Chiffons was "Sweet-Talking Guy" in mid 1966.The success of the song resulted in the Chiffons releasing their third LP, Sweet Talking Guy which peaked at #149 on the Billboard Top 200 LP chart.[2] The Chiffons did their first overseas tour of England and Germany in June 1967; on one of their London club dates (the Chiffons were one of the opening acts for Jimi Hendrix), members of the Beatles and Stones were in the audience.

Laurie released several minor US chart hits on the Chiffons (including “Up On The Bridge”, “My Boyfriend’s Back)” until the end of the 60s. One track “Just For Tonight” was a big Canadian hit in 1968.

Personnel changes[edit]

Tiring of the constant touring and lack of hits, Judy Craig left the group in 1972, and she took a bank job in Manhattan. The remaining trio continued to do live shows with Sylvia now as permanent lead singer. Eventually, Sylvia, Pat, and Barbara took on regular 9-5 jobs, but continued to do live shows on weekends. Sylvia eventually left, and her spot was taken by alternating friends of the group.

In 1970, George Harrison released the song "My Sweet Lord", whose musical similarities to "He's So Fine" prompted the estate of Ronnie Mack to file a copyright infringement claim.[2] The Chiffons went on to record "My Sweet Lord" in 1975.[2] A judge later found that Harrison had unintentionally plagiarized the earlier song.[4]

Sylvia returned to the Chiffons during the 1980s. On May 15, 1992, Barbara Lee died from a heart attack, and Craig returned to the group. Peterson retired shortly thereafter and was replaced by Connie Harvey. Harvey has since left to pursue a solo career and Bennett has retired from the group.[citation needed]

As of 2023, Judy Craig occasionally performs with her eldest daughter and a niece. Pat Bennett lives in Georgia. Sylvia Peterson retired from her career in healthcare, and died on July 28, 2023, at the age of 77.[5][6]


The Four Pennies[edit]


The Chiffons[edit]

Standard albums

  1. "He's So Fine"
  2. "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"
  3. "Oh My Lover"
  4. "Why Do Fools Fall in Love"
  5. "My Block"
  6. "ABC-123"
  7. "Lucky Me"
  8. "Why Am I So Shy"
  9. "See You in September"
  10. "Wishing"
  11. "Mystic Voice"
  12. "When I Go to Sleep at Night"
  • 1963: One Fine Day Laurie Records – LLP 2020[7]
  1. "One Fine Day"
  2. "It's My Party"
  3. "The Loco-Motion"
  4. "Tonight I Met an Angel"
  5. "Only My Friend"
  6. "Da Doo Ron Ron"
  7. "I Wonder Why
  8. "Foolish Little Girl"
  9. "I'm Going to Dry My Eyes"
  10. "Did You Ever Go Steady"
  11. "When Summer's Through"
  12. "Love Is Like a Merry Go Round"
  13. "My Boyfriend's Back"
  • 1966: Sweet Talkin' Guy Laurie Records – SLP 2036[7] (US #149)
  1. "Sweet Talkin' Guy"
  2. "Up On the Bridge"
  3. "Nobody Knows What's Going On"
  4. "Thumbs Down"
  5. "Just a Boy"
  6. "Down Down Down"
  7. "Out of This World"
  8. "My Boyfriend's Back"
  9. "Open Your Eyes"
  10. "March"
  11. "Keep the Boy Happy"
  12. "See You in September"
  1. "Secret Love"
  2. "You're The Love Of A Lifetime"
  3. "Soul"
  4. "I Don't Deserve A Boy Like You"
  5. "Strange Strange Feeling"
  6. "Now That You're My Baby"
  7. "The First And Last"
  8. "Remember Me Baby"
  9. "It Hurts To Be Sixteen"
  10. "Every Boy And Every Girl"

Compilation albums

  • 1974: Everything You Always Wanted to Hear by the Chiffons but Couldn't Get
  • 1979: The Chiffons Sing the Hits of the 50s & 60s
  • 2004: Absolutely The Best!
  • 2006: Sweet Talkin' Girls


  • 1963: "He's So Fine"/"Oh My Lover" (US #1, R&B #1, UK #16)
  • 1963: "Lucky Me"/"Why Am I So Shy"
  • 1963: "One Fine Day"/"Why Am I So Shy" (US #5, R&B #6, UK #29)
  • 1963: "A Love So Fine"/"Only My Friend" (US #40, R&B #50)
  • 1963: "I Have a Boyfriend"/"I'm Gonna Dry My Eyes" (US #36, R&B #6)
  • 1964: "Sailor Boy"/"When the Summer Is Through" (US #81, R&B #24)
  • 1964: "Easy to Love"/"Tonight I Met an Angel"
  • 1964: "What Am I Gonna Do With You (Hey Baby)"/"Strange, Strange Feeling"
  • 1965: "Nobody Knows What's Goin' On (In My Mind but Me)"/"Did You Ever Go Steady" (US #49)
  • 1965: "Nobody Knows What's Goin' On (In My Mind but Me)"/"The Real Thing"
  • 1965: "Tonight I'm Gonna Dream"/"Heavenly Place"
  • 1966: "Out of This World"/"Just a Boy" (US #67)
  • 1966: "Stop, Look and Listen"/"March" (US #85)
  • 1966: "Sweet Talkin' Guy"/"Did You Ever Go Steady" (US #10, UK #31) (UK #4 (1972 re-issue))
  • 1966: "My Boyfriend's Back"/"I Got Plenty of Nuttin'"
  • 1967: "If I Knew Then"/"Keep the Boy Happy"
  • 1968: "Up on the Bridge"/"March"
  • 1968: "Just for Tonight"/"Teach Me How"
  • 1969: "Love Me Like You're Gonna Lose Me"/"Three Dips of Ice Cream"
  • 1970: "So Much in Love"/"Strange Strange Feeling"
  • 1975: "My Sweet Lord"/"Main Nerve"
  • 1976: "Dream Dream Dream"/"Oh My Lover"

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ MacLeod, Sean (2015). Leaders of the Pack. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 81. ISBN 9781442252028.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Sixties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 111. ISBN 0-7535-0149-X.
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 157. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  4. ^ "Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music". Columbia Law School Arthur W. Diamond Law Library Music Plagiarism Project. 2002. Retrieved 2007-09-05.
  5. ^ "Sylvia Peterson". Forever Missed. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  6. ^ "RIP Sylvia Peterson of the Chiffons". Billy Vera on Facebook. 31 July 2023. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  7. ^ a b c "Laurie Album Discography, Part 1". Bsnpubs.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017.


External links[edit]