Starting out as the Dreamers, The Blossoms were probably one of the first girl groups ever to form, coming together in the 1950s before the “girl group sound” would explode later in the 1960s with bands such as The Chiffons, the Dixie Cups, the Ronettes and more.
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Formed when original band members Fanita James, sisters Annette and Nanette Williams and Gloria Jones were students at Fremont High School in Los Angeles, they were discovered by singer Richard Berry during a school talent show in 1954. They went on to back Berry on several of his singles; all of these releases received local airplay, but only the track “Bye, Bye” sold, and made the national R&B charts.
Later, in 1956 the Dreamers recorded on their own for the first time, resulting in the singles “Since You’ve Been Gone” and “Do Not Forget,” both written by Berry. These two singles have been recognized as the first rumblings of the girl group sound that would become prominent in the 1960s.
After signing to Capitol Records, the band changed their name to The Blossoms, sprouted from a comment made by a Capitol executive who noted their different skin tones were like a “bouquet” of flowers.
By 1957, Darlene Wright had replaced Nanette Williams – Wright would later take on the name Darlene Love under which she had her own solo career as well. This formation of The Blossoms released the single “Son-In-Law” in 1961, a pop chart entry for the group and a response song to Ernie K-Doe’s hit single “Mother-In-Law.”
Further changes to the group happened in the 1960s, and with both of the Williams sisters now gone, The Blossoms had become a trio composed of Love, James and new band mate Jean King. Throughout this period, they enjoyed moderate success, appearing as backup singers on the pop music television series Shindig in 1965, and in 1967, their catchy, attitude infused single “Good, Good Lovin,’” written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil became popular. They also sang backup for the likes of Bobby Darin, Paul Anka, and even country legend Buck Owens.
Through changing band members, a string of singles on several labels, The Blossoms finally recorded their first and only album, Shockwave, in 1972, a collection of pop and R&B tunes.
Though the band themselves never quite reached stardom, they were highly influential to the progression of music, and without their formative sound of sassy, strong and honest music, girl groups wouldn’t be the same today.
Words: Patti Sanchez