Regarded as the first true girl group, this New York vocal quintet - Arlene Smith (5 October 1941, New York, USA), Sonia Goring, Rene Minus, Lois Harris and Jackie Landry - were all members of a high-school choir when they auditioned for producer Richard Barrett in 1957. The group made its recording debut for End Records with Hes Gone following two months of rehearsal, and this plaintive offering set the tone for the Chantels subsequent work. Their impassioned style culminated with Maybe, wherein Smiths heart-wrenching plea carried an inordinate passion. Barely 16 years old on its release, the singers emotional delivery belied her youth. The single reputedly sold in excess of one million copies and reached R&B number 2 and the pop Top 20, but pirated pressings were prevalent in many American states, undermining the groups potential. Subsequent releases failed to match its quality and the Chantels...
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