The Bobbettes And Mr. Lee Redux   10 comments

In some ways, the girl group known as the Bobbettes was a typical one-hit wonder. (Although you might remember that I argued a while back that the term shouldn’t be used so negatively.) The Bobbettes did qualify for the sobriquet, with 1957’s “Mr. Lee” hitting #1 on R&B charts and even climbing into the Top Ten on pop charts, although later records all fell far short. But that’s still pretty good, when you consider that the group’s lead singer was only eleven when it all started.bob

That was young Reather Dixon, who joined with school friends and fellow glee club members Laura Webb, Helen Gathers, and sisters Jannie and Emma Pought to form a singing group they initially called the Harlem Queens. The girls were soon appearing in amateur shows at the Apollo Theater, making a big splash and attracting the attention of James Dailey, who helped get them a contract with Atlantic Records.

Daily also changed the group’s name to the Bobbettes to soften its image a little, and helped produce its debut record. It was a harmless little song about a teacher who the girls actually disliked, but in the song, “Mr. Lee” was made to sound good. (They later recorded a more accurate – and critical – version they named “I Shot Mr. Lee,” but it became one of the reasons they left Atlantic after the company balked at issuing it.) After “Mr. Lee” became a huge hit they were big-time stars, even touring with the likes of Clyde McPhatter, Frankie Lymon, and Dion & The Belmonts.

Over the next several years the Bobbettes did sell some records with songs like “Have Mercy Baby,” “I Don’t Like It Like That,” and a few others, and the girls certainly kept spinning out new releases. But they never again approached the popularity of “Mr. Lee,” and by the late 1960s had begun to evolve into a smaller group, sometimes singing background for others. By the 1970s the original Bobbettes had dissolved, although various members have reunited from time to time through the years for oldies shows.

bobcdThe Bobbettes – “I Shot Mr. Lee”


Posted February 23, 2015 by BG in Boomers, Music, Nostalgia, Oldies, Retirement, Seniors, Video

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10 responses to “The Bobbettes And Mr. Lee Redux

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  1. I am aware of George Goldner and End Records and appreciated the two songs released on End by The Bobbettes. Sometime I would love to see what GMC (You!) could do with a synopsis of the company between the late 50’s and early 60’s with the likes of Little Anthony & The Imperials, The Dubs, The Channels, The Chantels, The Cleftones and many more. Whomever was producing the music was great at it. The labels would be End, Gone & Rama. Hope you’re doing well BG.

  2. Appreciate the vote of confidence, but untangling all the intrigues surrounding record companies is way beyond my ability. That’s one reason I tend to gloss over most of it in my posts — that, and the fact that sources so often vary. Maybe someone else will see your suggestion and run with it, but I’d have to pass.

    As always, thanks for writing…

  3. Great to be reminded of the Bobettes. So much charm! You’re right about the value of one hit wonders – a couple celebrated on the latest post of the immortal jukebox. Regards thom

  4. Thanks, Thom. (Note to others, you can find Thom’s excellent blog by clicking on his name above or ‘Immortal Jukebox’ in the left column.)

  5. Ola’ gretting from spain hi bg x your website is a blessing’ keep those great comments coming in’ toni ventura george goldner niece ‘ watch my video on tube I am telling my wonderful and fantastic memories of my uncle george goldner and aunt Gracie bg I hope to tell my memorie story of Lewis lymon what a remarkable sweet guy he was . I am and always will be frankie lymon’s love. His song my girl he sang to me ‘ cause in his love letters to me he sign toni your not just a girl your my girl . I must stop now I have tears in my eyes . The very best to you bgx

  6. Hi I must say what great great and wonderful member’s in your fan club!! regard’s to the legendary bobbett’s they are in my memories forever !! I tell all my friend’s here in sunny spain about your fan club!.best wishes to all working on my lewis lymon story !! But by I keep crying my heart is so full year’s . Big hug’s to you george goldner’s favourite niece toni ventura x

  7. Greetings from little italy new york city! And i must say I’ve got an accent as thick as a slice of sicialen pizza and every thing on it !!! Bgx let the good time’s roll baby!!!! With my Louie lymon forget me not story! Toni bacala πŸ˜…x

  8. Hey! Johnny be good πŸ˜€ great to be back home!! again, Europe is getting not so good now sorry to say. Going to visit my Frankie and my Lewis soon. And place flower ‘s for the legendary lymon family 😒. They will always be in my “heart ” and memories until the end of time. B.g. catch you later my sweetie x the Latin from Manhattan ☺😊 xx keep on bringing good comments. See you later alligator! ! Toni ventura

  9. B.g. I must tell you when beginning the president of Frankie lymon fan club Frankie and I sat down together reading all his fan “mail” from all over the world πŸ˜† what great times Frankie and I had. Boy!! Those we’re fond and loving memories of mine 😒 Frankie lymon “girl” ☺ toni ventura x

  10. Oh! B.g. and when my mom left the room Frankie lymon would give me a warm and loving kisses 😊😊😊😊😊x toni ventura good -bye B.g.x

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