Google+ Followers

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Barbara Ellis born 20 February 1940

Barbara Laine Ellis (top right) (born 20 February 1940) was a co founder of the vocal group The Fleetwoods.
Although the Fleetwoods' sound was smooth, without many of the rougher edges of doo wop groups, they were one of the few white vocal groups of the late '50s and early '60s to enjoy success not only on the pop charts, but also the R&B charts.
Their forte was ballads -- beginning with the 1959 debut single "Come Softly to Me," they racked up a number of hits over the next three years, and nearly all of them were ballads. The Fleetwoods broke up in 1963, but their songs -- particularly "Come Softly to Me" -- became pop/rock classics of the pre-British Invasion era.
Gretchen Christopher, Barbara Ellis, and Gary Troxell formed the Fleetwoods while attending high school in Olympia, WA. Originally, the group consisted only of Christopher and Ellis, but the duo soon asked Troxell to accompany them on trumpet. Shortly after his arrival in the group, Troxell abandoned the trumpet and concentrated on singing once the other two members heard a portion of a song he had written.
With some notable contributions from Christopher and Ellis, the group wrote "Come Softly to Me" and began performing the song at various events around Olympia, eventually gaining the attention of Bob Reisdorff, who ran the Seattle-based label Dolphin Records.

Dolphin released "Come Softly to Me" early in 1959 and the song became an instant hit, climbing to number one on the pop charts and number five on the R&B charts; it also reached the Top Ten in U.K. The Fleetwoods weren't able to immediately produce a follow-up single as successful as their debut, but their third single, "Mr. Blue," was a number one pop and Top Five R&B hit in the U.S. in late 1959. By the time of its release, Dolphin had changed its name to Dolton. For the next three years, the Fleetwoods had a string of minor pop hits.
The group wasn't able to consistently place singles in the upper regions of the charts partially because Troxell was drafted into the Navy at the height of the group's popularity at the end of 1959. Troxell was replaced by Vic Dana, who would later have a string of his own hit singles in the early '60s.
The Fleetwoods' last Top Ten single arrived in the spring of 1961, when "Tragedy" climbed the U.S. charts. The group disbanded two years later, after releasing its final single, a cover of Jesse Belvin's "Goodnight My Love," on which Barbara sang the lead. It was released as a single in April 1963 rising to number 12 on the new easy listening charts. This was the Fleetwoods last single to chart.

After a six years of success, the Fleetwoods went their separate ways. The group reformed in the early 70s to meet the demand for oldies acts. In 1973, the group recorded an album with producer Jerry Dennon, but the resulting recordings were unsuccessful. By the late 1970s, Gary was working at a plywood plant near the Canadian border, Gretchen continued to perform solo on occasion while becoming a housewife and instructor of modern dance. Barbara retired, married and divorced and remarried a number of times and managed a mobile home park in Ontario, CA.

A later photo of Barbara Ellis
In 1990, the Fleetwoods -- featuring Christopher, Troxell, and instead of Ellis a singer named Cheryl Huggins -- played a tour on the American oldies circuit after Rhino released the compact disc collection The Best of the Fleetwoods. In 2006 they were inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of fame.
Today, Gretchen continues to perform as Gretchen Christopher of the Fleetwoods while Gary Troxel leads his highly successful Fleetwoods group with Cheryl Huggins and Bonnie Hannukaine.
(Info mainly AMG)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For The Very best of the Fleetwoods go here:

01 Come Softly To Me
02 I Care So Much
03 Graduation's Here
04 Mr Blue
05 Unchained Melody (acapella)
06 You Mean Everything To Me
07 Outside My Window
08 Runaround
09 Skylark
10 The Last One To Know
11 Confidential
12 Tragedy
13 Little Miss Sad One
14 (He's) The Great Imposter
15 Lavender Blue
16 One Little Star
17 Lovers By Night, Strangers By Day
18 They Tell Me It's Summer
19 Goodnight My Love
20 My Special Lover
21 Gone
22 What'll I Do
23 Ten Times Blue
24 Before And After (Losing You)
25 Lonely Is As Lonely Does
26 Radio Jingle
27 Come Softly To Me (acapella)
28 Mr Blue (acapella)

A big thank you to Jake @ Jukebox City for link