The Chordettes

The Chordettes was a barbershop-style quartet of female singers from Wisconsin. From 1954 to 1961, they placed thirteen songs in the top one hundred and were a very popular singing group.

The group was formed in the late 40's in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and originally was folk-oriented along the lines of another popular group at the time, the Weavers. The original members were Janet Ertel, her sister-in-law Carol Bushman, Dorothy Schwartz and Jinny Osborn. Janet's sister Alice Spielvogel was also involved when the group first started. In 1952 Schwartz was replaced by Lynn Evans, and the following year Osborn was replaced by Margie Needham. Nancy Overton was a member of the Chordettes at a later date. The girls had a sweet sound and got away from folk and into harmonizing. They performed locally at first and went on the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scout show, which they won, and then became regulars on Godfrey's show. The show's musical director, Archie Bleyer, formed the Cadence label in 1953 and signed the Chordettes to a recording contract.

Their first in a long series of hits on Cadence was Mr. Sandman, a song which topped the charts for several weeks in 1954. The male voice that is heard in the song is that of Archie Bleyer. The Chordettes became one of three groups [along with the Fontane Sisters and the Teen Queens] to have a top twenty hit with Eddie My Love in 1956. They followed it with Born To Be With You, which went top ten. Other hits followed: Lay Down Your Arms, and Just Between You And Me. In 1958 they hit big with one that just missed the top spot when they recorded Lollipop. They recorded other hit songs such as Zorro, all of them on the Cadence label, before their final big one in 1961, Never On Sunday.

Janet Ertel married Cadence owner Archie Bleyer in 1954, and her daughter Jackie was married to another performer who recorded very successfully on Cadence in the 50's, Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers. Janet died of cancer in 1988.

The excellent harmony of the Chordettes left us with many memorable songs.

Most Recent Update: April 20, 2000

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