Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Bernice Williams

Bernice Williams is an American songwriter, who wrote the 1960s song "Duke of Earl"[1] along with Gene Chandler and Earl Edwards.[2] In the 1960s, she wrote three Billboard Hot 100 hit songs.

Chandler was discovered by Williams. Under her professional guidance, Chandler was introduced to agent Bill Sheppard, and Sheppard found a slot for Chandler as the lead singer with a doo-wop group called the Dukays. Their track, "Night Owl" (also known as "Nite Owl"), was released on Nat Records,[3] and it entered the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 73 in February 1962. "Duke of Earl" appeared as a single in November 1961, with a song called "Kissin' In The Kitchen" (also written by Bernice Williams) on the B-side. "Duke of Earl" was a major hit, with one million copies sold by the end of the calendar year; the song topped both the U.S. pop and R&B charts in February 1962.[4][5]

Williams was also responsible for the discovery of The Starlets, an American girl group from Chicago, Illinois. The group came together in 1961, and auditioned for Williams. She wrote them "Better Tell Him No", which was released on Pam Records that year. The record peaked at number 38 on the Billboard Hot 100.[6][7]

Tiny Topsy was believed to be an alias used by Williams (who wrote Tiny Topsy's track, "Western Rock 'N' Roll") for some time, although pop historians now discount the idea.[8]

Williams has written over 200 songs.[citation needed] She lives in Chicago with her daughter, and continues to write music.


  1. ^ Pruter, Robert (1992). Chicago Soul. University of Illinois Press. pp. 58–. ISBN 978-0-252-06259-9. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Richie Unterberger. "Duke of Earl - Gene Chandler | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-04. 
  3. ^ Andrew Hamilton. "The Dukays | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-04. 
  4. ^ Robert Pruter (1996). Doowop: The Chicago Scene. University of Illinois Press. pp. 211–213. 
  5. ^ "Gene Chandler - *The Official Website*". Gene Chandler. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  6. ^ "The Starlets | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-04. 
  7. ^ Joel Whitburn (2000). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (9th ed.). Billboard Books. ISBN 978-0823085545. 
  8. ^ "Tiny Topsy | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-04. 

External linksEdit