The Dixie Cups Biography

Formed in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, in 1963, the Dixie Cups were a female trio best known for the original recording of the hit ‘Chapel Of Love’ in the early 60s. The group comprised sisters Barbara Ann Hawkins (23 October 1943) and Rosa Lee Hawkins (b. 24 September 1944) and their cousin Joan Marie Johnson (b. January 1945, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA). Having sung together in church and at school, the girls formed a group called the Meltones for a high school talent contest in 1963. There they were discovered by Joe Jones, a New Orleans singer who had secured a hit himself with ‘You Talk Too Much’ in 1960. He became their manager and signed the trio with producers/songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who were then starting their own record label, Red Bird, with industry veteran George Goldner.

The Dixie Cups recorded Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich’s ‘Chapel Of Love’ despite the fact that both the Ronettes and the Crystals had failed to have hits with the song, which was described by co-producer Mike Leiber as ‘a record I hated with a passion’. Released as the debut Red Bird single, the trio’s first single reached number 1 in the USA during the summer of 1964 (the trio later claimed that they received only a few hundred dollars for their part in the recording). Following that hit, the Dixie Cups toured the USA and released a number of follow-up singles for Red Bird, four of which charted. ‘People Say’, the second, made number 12 and the last, ‘Iko Iko’, a traditional New Orleans chant, reached number 20. The song was subsequently used in soundtracks for a number of films, in common with ‘Chapel Of Love’. After Red Bird closed down in 1966, the Dixie Cups signed with ABC-Paramount Records. No hits resulted from the association, and the trio have not recorded since, although they continue to perform (the two sisters are the only originals still in the act).

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.