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The Angels

The Angels' 1963 number one hit, "My Boyfriend's Back," is one of the half-dozen or so archetypal girl group classics. Hand clap beats, sassy vocals, slightly campy lyrics, and an arrangement paced by wailing horns and streetcorner harmonies; it was a surefire hit and one that the group could never live up to, although they continued to record for some time. The Angels had actually been around for a while before "My Boyfriend's Back," making the Top 20 in 1961 with the ballad "'Till," and the Top 40 with a follow-up, "Cry Baby Cry." Featuring sisters Barbara and Phyllis Allbut, along with lead singer Linda Jansen, the group was at this time much more inclined toward lush doo-wop, somewhat in the mold of Little Anthony & the Imperials. Jansen left near the end of 1962, to be replaced by Peggy Santiglia, who gave the trio a tougher sound. In 1963, they hooked up with the songwriting/production team of Feldman-Goldstein-Gottehrer (later to oversee the McCoys and the Strangeloves), who penned and produced material more in line with the Spectorian Wall of Sound gracing the airwaves at the peak of the girl group era. "My Boyfriend's Back" was originally cut as a demo that music publishers hoped to shop to the Shirelles, but it turned out so well that it was released as an Angels single, after they had been freed from their prior contract to sign with Smash. Surprisingly, they would never make the Top 20 again, although they had minor hits with "Thank You and Goodnight," "I Adore Him," and "Wow Wow Wee (He's the Boy for Me)." They were decent, ebullient singers, the best of their efforts standing up well to other New York-produced groups like the Shirelles, but could never latch on to a tune as surefire as "My Boyfriend's Back" again, despite (or maybe because of) a steady supply of material from the Feldman-Goldstein-Gottehrer consortium. They worked often as session vocalists in the '60s, most notably on Lou Christie's "Lightnin' Strikes," and continued to record, unsuccessfully, throughout the '60s.
© Richie Unterberger /TiVo


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