The Crystals: Da Doo Ron Ron – The Very Best of the Crystals

Fresh mono transfer and remaster of the Crystals’ best

The Crystals formed in 1961 with Barbara Alston as their lead singer. Quickly signed by Phil Spector for his brand new Philles label, they were the subject of the label’s very first single, first hit and first Top 20, “(There’s No Other) Like My Baby.” They struck gold again the following year with the Mann & Weil’s brilliant “Uptown” and reached #1 with Gene Pitney’s “He’s a Rebel.” Oddly, the latter single, the group’s only chart topper, was recorded by a completely different set of Crystals – Darlene Love and the Blossoms – than the one who’d first broken on the charts. The story has the original Crystals touring the East Coast at the moment the demanding Spector was ready to record in Los Angeles, and Love’s group was on hand.

The Love/Blossoms Crystals hit one more time, in 1963 with “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” before the original group regained their name with “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Then He Kissed Me,” and “I Wonder.” Well, sort of. “Da Doo Ron Ron” had been recorded by Darlene Love and the Blossoms, but Spector replaced her lead vocal with one by Lala Brooks, to whom Alston had ceded the lead vocal role in the Crystals’ stage show. The latter two singles also feature Brooks with Love and the Blossoms providing the backing vocals. The East Coast group split with Spector and Philles shortly thereafter, and amid additional personnel changes recorded a few more non-charting singles that failed to capture the thrills and grandeur of their hits.

This disc collects the group’s ten charting singles (which also include “Little Boy” and “All Grown Up”), B-sides, album tracks, the short-lived A-side “There’s No Other Like My Baby” (which was flipped to make “(There’s No Other) Like My Baby” a hit), and the quickly withdrawn “He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss).” Two rarities – the hard-swinging unissued-at-the-time “Heartbreaker” and the previously unissued LaLa Brooks-sung “Woman in Love” fill out the disc. This isn’t a complete exposition of the group’s recordings (their early version of “On Broadway” would have been a nice inclusion), and some will complain about the all-mono line-up, but with ABKCO’s Best of the Crystals out of print, it’s great to have the group’s hits and and B-sides available alongside collections for the Ronettes, Darlene Love and Phil Spector. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

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One Response to “The Crystals: Da Doo Ron Ron – The Very Best of the Crystals”

  1. Taisa says:

    i totally agree with you about draelne love’s voice. she s the lead vocalist on he’s a rebel and he’s sure the boy i love, and on many bob b. soxx and the blue jeans’ songs too.bye

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