Chains The Cookies
The name of this band, got me hooked, because nothing is better than Chocolate chip cookies and ice cream, but enough about what I’m having for dinner, I want Chains The Cookies, and I hope you feel the same.
The Cookies were an American R&B girl group active from 1954 to 1967. Members of the original lineup later became the Raelettes, the backing vocalists for Ray Charles.
The Cookies in 1962
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
R&B, Pop, Soul
Developed in 1954 in Brooklyn, New York, USA, the Cookies‘ membership originally consisted of Dorothy Jones, Darlene McCrea and Dorothy‘s cousin, Beulah Robertson. Robertson was replaced in 1956 by Margie Hendricks (Hendrix). The band was introduced to Ray Charles through their session work for Atlantic Records. In 1958, The Cookies performed with Ray Charles as well as Ann Fisher for the Cavalcade of Jazz concert produced by Leon Hefflin Sr., held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, on August 3. The other headliners were Little Willie John, Sam Cooke, Ernie Freeman, and also Bo Rhambo. Sammy Davis Jr. was there to crown the winner of the Miss Cavalcade of Jazz beauty contest. After backing Charles and other Atlantic Records musicians, McCrea as well as Hendricks helped create the Raelettes in 1958. Pat Lyles was a Raelette, however never a Cookie.
In 1961, a new version of the Cookies emerged in New York, with Dorothy Jones joining newcomers Earl-Jean McCrea (Darlene‘s younger sister) and also another of Dorothy‘s cousins, Margaret Ross. Jones also recorded one solo recording for Columbia in 1961. This trio had the greatest success as the Cookies: under their very own name; as backing vocals for various other musicians, including Neil Sedaka‘s hit songs “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do“, “The Dreamer“ and “Bad Girl“; as well as recording demos for Aldon Music, under the direction of Carole King and also Gerry Goffin. They supplied the backup vocals for the Little Eva hit song, “The Loco-Motion“, along with her follow-up hit “Let‘s Turkey Trot“, both from 1962; and for Mel Tormé‘s hit version of “Comin‘ Home Baby“. They scored their greatest hit in 1963 with the song “Don’t Say Nothin‘ Bad (About My Baby)“, which reached number 3 on the Billboard R&B chart and # 7 on the Billboard Pop chart.
A 1962 hit, “Chains“, was recorded by The Beatles on their debut release Please Please Me album. Earl-Jean McCrea left the group in 1965 after two solo singles, which included the first recording of the Goffin/King song, “I‘m Into Something Good“,made famous by Hermans Hermits.
The Cookies also released several recordings under pseudonyms, primarily with Margaret Ross on lead. Their alter egos on recordings were the Palisades (Chairman), the Stepping Stones (Philips), the Cinderellas (Dimension) and the Honey Bees (Fontana 1939 only).
In April 1967, they released their last record, produced by the Tokens. Darlene McCrea went back to replace her sister for this recording.
Dorothy Jones died on Christmas Day 2010, from complications of Alzheimer‘s disease, in Columbus, Ohio, at the age of 76.
Margaret Ross, currently Margaret Williams, tours today as the Cookies with new back-up singers. She likewise performs with Barbara Harris as well as the Toys occasionally.
Darlene McCrea died from cancer on February 4, 2013.
- Dorothy Jones – 1954-1958, 1961-1967
- “Ethel” Darlene McCrea – 1954-1958, 1964-1967
- Beulah Robertson – 1954-1956
- Margie Hendricks – 1956-1958
- Earl-Jean McCrea – 1961-1964
- Margaret Ross – 1961-1967
Dorothy, Beulah, and Margaret were first cousins; their respective mothers were sisters. Beulah and Margaret were not members of the group during the same period, but both performed with Dorothy. Darlene and Earl-Jean were sisters, but were not members of the group during the same period.
- “In Paradise” b/w “Passing Time” (Atlantic 45-2079) 1960
- “Chains” b/w “Stranger in my Arms” (Dimension 1002) (#17 U.S. Pop, 1962, UK #50, 1963)
- “Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad (About My Baby)” b/w “Softly in the Night” (Dimension 1008) (#3 U.S R&B, #7 U.S. Pop, 1963)
- “Will Power” b/w “I Want a Boy for my Birthday” (Dimension 1012) 1963
- “Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys” b/w “Only To Other People” (Dimension 1020) (#33 U.S. R&B, #33 U.S. Pop, 1963)
- “I Never Dreamed” b/w “The Old Crowd” (Dimension 1032) 1964
Discography As Backup Singers
- “Drown In My Own Tears” – Ray Charles, 1955
- “Corrine Corrina” – Big Joe Turner, 1956
- “It’s Too Late” – Chuck Willis, 1956
- “Lonely Avenue” – Ray Charles, 1956
- “Halfway to Paradise” – Tony Orlando, 1961
- “Bless You” – Tony Orlando, 1961
- “The Loco-Motion” – Little Eva, 1962
- “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” – Neil Sedaka, 1962
- “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby” – Little Eva, 1962
- “Comin’ Home Baby” – Mel Torme, 1962
- “Next Door to an Angel” – Neil Sedaka, 1962
- “Blame It on the Bossa Nova” – Eydie Gorme, 1963
- “I Want to Stay Here” – Steve and Eydie, 1963
- “Let’s Turkey Trot” – Little Eva, 1963
- “Swinging on a Star” – Big Dee Irwin and Little Eva, 1963
- “Happy Being Fat” – Big Dee Irwin, 1963
- “You’re My Inspiration” – Big Dee Irwin, 1963
- “Bad Girl” – Neil Sedaka, 1963
- “The Christmas Song” – Big Dee Irwin and Little Eva, 1963