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Photo courtesy of Cha Cha Charming

"He Hit Me" was absolutely, positively the one record that none of us liked. We knew in our hearts that it was going to be a controversial piece and argued on several occasions with Phil about releasing it. All I really wanted to know was "why"? Why would five (possibly four at the time) young girls sing something extraordinary like "he hit me and it felt like a kiss" -- yuk, was what I truly felt.

Yes, the song was recorded in New York, in whatever studio Phil was using during that time. Phil was a master at getting you in the mood for whatever song(s) he was attempting at the time. Since I never wanted to sing lead in the first place, he really had to do a job on me for that one. He would get everyone out of the control room, clear the studio and have no one but he and the group there. He would cut out the lights in the studio making it cozy and subdued. He always kept the light on in the control room, though, and you would see him sitting up there doing the whole routine by himself. He was quite an intelligent musician. I remember on Uptown, Phil must have played every string instrument there was, the piano, and I believe the drums. He overdubbed everything and anything! He was a one-man band.

Now, I liked "No One Ever Tells You," but I still didn't want to sing it. I always gave Phil such a hard time because I never came into the group wanting to sing lead. When my uncle asked me to join the group, he said he needed background singers. That's why I agreed. I could do harmony by ear and always loved making up dance routines. That was my forte. However, everyone else at the time was too shy to even give the lead a shot. Dee Dee was the only one with enough nerve to do anything, but her voice was too high and soft. She was a perfect 1st tenor. Patsy couldn't hold a note long enough to say "sing" -- that's why Phil put her on the flip side of "There's No Other." He got tired of going into several different keys in one shot! Mary absolutely didn't want to sing a thing. Myrna wasn't even a working member of the group -- she left before we did our first show. So, when we got La La, we got what we wanted -- a lead singer. I was ecstatic to say the least. But, again, Phil was not pleased. He didn't like her voice for some reason and he kept coming back to me. I refused and indicated that La La is our lead and should do the songs. Phil left New York during that time and in California, he used whoever he wanted to sing whatever he wanted. That's how Darlene Love got involved. There's plenty more to this story, but I guess you have an overall sense of how I felt about singing any of those songs.

Barbara Alston
The Crystals - Ultimate Collection

This is a 29-song Crystals collection from Belgium on Marginal Records. Although it has no liner notes, virtually ALL of the Crystals' Philles tracks are on here, including the Christmas songs, and two from their United Artists period.
>>>presented by Spectropop
The Crystals

"The Crystals were the first girl group Phil Spector signed to his newly formed Philles label. The Crystals; Patsy Wright, La La Brooks, Dee Dee Kennibrew, Mary Thomas and Barbara Alston, had a long run of hits on the charts. It all started with "There's No Other (Like My Baby). The Crystals had conecutive hits with six in the top 20..."
>>>presented by John Rausch
The Crystals

"The Crystals placed six songs in the top twenty in 1962 and 1963 and helped to set the stage for other acts that would follow for their producer, Phil Spector. They helped Spector to establish his famous "Wall Of Sound." The group came from Brooklyn and was formed during the time Spector spent working in New York City's Brill Building..."
>>>presented by Tom Simon
The Crystals

"One of the most popular of the 60s girl groups, the Crystals were the first act that producer Phil Spector gave full attention to while establishing his Philles label. This group was not your typical collection of girlfriends singing together in the neighborhood; they were mostly from different sections of Brooklyn. The eventual quintet was a creation of Benny Wells, a former big-band musician and by 1960, the groups manager..."
>>>Presented by History of Rock
The Crystals profile

"This Brooklyn female vocal group had R&B roots, but the Crystals were really a pop ensemble whose best songs perfectly expressed the romantic innocence of the early '60s. Barbara Alston, Lala Brooks, Dee Dee Kennibrew, Mary Thomas, and Patricia Wright were the original lineup formed by Benny Wells while still in high school....." Twist Uptown pic courtesy of John Rausch
>>> presented by All Music Guide
The Crystals File

"This highly influential 60s US female vocal group were the product of Phil Spector, for his pioneering Philles record label. They, along with the Ronettes, were one of the definitive 'wall of sound' groups of the 60s. They came together after meeting in the legendary Brill Building where the group were preparing demos for the Aberbach's famous publishing company Hill and Range..."
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