Gary: “I have decided to look at a # 1 song from 1963 – Not one of my favourites, but the version done 20 years later I loved. The reason I would like to look at this song is because so many groups and individuals covered it.
The Angels/My Boyfriend’s Back/Smash Label #1834 Aug.10,1963 – #1 on Billboard for 3 weeks
This group originated in New Jersey as The Starlets which consisted of sisters, Barbara “Bibs” and Phyllis “Jiggs” Allbut, Bernadette Carroll, and Linda Malzone.
They had some minor local hits and wound up doing back-up work in the studio. When Linda Malzone left, Linda Jankowski (later Jansen) became the new lead singer.
Their manager, Tom DeCillis, turned his focus to Bernadette Carroll and dropped the rest of the group. Carroll would find solo success in 1963 with her Laurie single “Party Girl.”
After a failed attempt at record deal with producer Gerry Granahan, the Allbut sisters turned their focus to education. Phyllis Allbut was in teacher’s college at the time and Barbara Allbut was accepted into the Juilliard School for her abilities as a musical arranger.
Soon Granahan, who had previously rejected the group, suddenly saw hit potential in the song they had performed for him in their audition, a version of “Till,” and wanted them to record it in the studio.
“Till” became their first single under their new name, The Angels, and also their first hit (#14 US) released by Granahan’s Caprice label in 1961.
The song was followed up with a less-successful single, “Cry Baby Cry.” In 1962 The Angels had one album on Caprice, titled …And The Angels Sing.
Jansen left the group in late 1962 to go solo and was replaced by Peggy Santiglia, formerly of The Delicates (with Denise Ferri and Arleen Lanzotti). Santiglia had sung jingles for WINS Radio, appeared on Broadway, and had songwriting experience.
In 1963, songwriter/producer Bob Feldman was a staff writer for April-Blackwood Music. He heard that a place called the Sweet Shoppe, across the street from his old highschool in Brooklyn, was being torn down and went back for one last look.
“While I was there“, Feldman recalled, “an altercation started between a young girl and a hoody-looking young man with a leather jacket. She was pointing a finger at him and screaming “My boyfriend’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble. You’ve been spreading lies about me all over school and when he gets ahold of you, you’re gonna be sorry you were ever born.”
That night Bob told his writing partners, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer, about the incident and they sat down and wrote a song about “My Boyfriend’s Back“.
The song was recorded by the Angels (with Santiglia on lead) as a demo for The Shirelles‘ consideration, and they did it solely as a favor for their songwriting friends, Bob, Jerry, and Richard, so it could be presented to the Shirelles; but with its infectious hand clapping rhythm and chirpy harmonies, the music publishers chose instead to release it as it stood.
The song was a major hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but no follow-up of comparable success was released.
“My Boyfriend’s Back” sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The follow-up was the lower-charting “I Adore Him” (#25 US). The B-side “Thank You And Goodnight” was also favourable and charted at #84 US.
During their Smash career, The Angels maintained a steady string of moderately successful singles which included “Wow Wow Wee (He’s The Boy For Me)” (#41 US).
Their album My Boyfriend’s Back made the top forty, charting at #33 but their next, A Halo to You, didn’t chart at all. The group left Smash in 1964 and signed with Congress Records.
The group became The Halos, following a dispute over the ownership of the name “The Angels.” Peggy Santiglia took a leave of absence from the group in 1965 and was replaced by Toni Mason (Angie & The Chicklettes).
The group released several more singles, none of which charted. Mason left the group in 1967 and was replaced by Debra Swisher (previously of The Pixies Three), who had recently recorded and released her own version of “Thank You And Goodnight” on the ABC-Paramount Records subsidiary, Boom Records.
This lineup resumed using the name “The Angels” and released a handful of singles on RCA Records. Former Starlet Bernadette Carroll was back in the group and became the new lead.
They appeared on “The Dean Martin Show” before disbanding in 1968. Santiglia and Phyllis and Barbara Allbut regrouped in the early 1970s and released a new single on Polydor Records.
Phyllis Allbut and Santiglia still perform as The Angels, joined occasionally by Barbara Allbut.
Lesley Gore/My Boyfriend’s Back
See also our post, all about: Lesley Gore
Then 20 years later my favourite version was done by Melissa Manchester – she also included Runaway