The Chordettes were an American female popular singing quartet, usually singing a cappella, and specializing in traditional popular music. They are best known for their hit songs "Mr. Sandman" and "Lollipop".
|Origin||Sheboygan, Wisconsin, U.S.|
|Website||The Chordettes' page on the Primarily A Cappella site|
|Past members||Jinny Lockard (previously Osborn)|
Janet Ertel (aka Bleyer)
Dorothy “Dottie” (Hummitzsch) Schwartz
Alice Mae Spielvogel (previously Buschmann)
The group organized in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in 1946. The original members of the group were Janet Ertel, Alice Mae Buschmann Spielvogel (replaced by Carol Buschmann, her sister-in-law, in 1947), Dorothy "Dottie" (Hummitzsch) Schwartz, and Jinny Osborn/Lockard (April 25, 1927 – May 19, 2003). In 1952 Lynn Evans replaced Schwartz and in 1953, Margie Needham replaced Osborn (who was having a baby), though Osborn later returned to the group. Nancy Overton also was a member of the group at a later time. Originally they sang folk music in the style of The Weavers, but eventually changed to a harmonizing style of the type known as barbershop harmony or close harmony. Part of this change seems to be influenced by Osborn's father.
Jinny Osborn was born in Seattle, Washington. She was born Virginia Cole, the daughter of O. H. "King" Cole, who was president (1948-1949) of the Barbershop Harmony Society (then known as SPEBSQSA), and Katherine Flack.
After performing locally in Sheboygan, they won on Arthur Godfrey's radio program Talent Scouts in 1949. They held feature status on Godfrey's daily program, and then they recorded several 10-inch EPs for Columbia Records.
In 1953, Godfrey's music director and orchestra leader, Archie Bleyer, founded Cadence Records. He signed a number of Godfrey regulars and former regulars, including the Chordettes, who had a number of hit records for Cadence.
Their biggest hit was "Mr. Sandman" in 1954. Archie Bleyer himself is on that record along with the group, Bleyer stripping the sound down the better not to clutter the girls' voices. They also hit No. 2 with 1958's "Lollipop" and also charted with a vocal version of the themes from Disney's Zorro (U.S. #17) (1959) and the film Never on Sunday (U.S. #13) (1961). Other hits for the group included "Eddie My Love" (U.S. #14), "Born to Be With You" (U.S. #5), "Lay Down Your Arms" in 1956, and "Just Between You and Me" (U.S. #8) in 1957. Their cover of "The White Rose Of Athens" hit the Australian Top 15 in May, 1962. The US single "In The Deep Blue Sea" was a one-week Music Vendor entry four months later (#128).
Janet Ertel married Bleyer in 1954. Her daughter Jackie married another Cadence recording star, Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers.
In 1961, Jinny Osborn again left the group. Unable to find a replacement with whom they were happy, the group disbanded.
The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.
The longest living member of the Chordettes who has sung on all the Chordettes' recordings, both on acappella and Cadence recordings, is Carol Buschmann. Lynn Evans Mand sang on all the Chordettes' Cadence Recordings. In 2004, Mand appeared on a PBS television special Magic Moments: The Best of 50s Pop, with other 1950s pop icons, singing "Lollipop". Buschmann, Mand and Margie Needham Latzko, are the surviving singers who recorded "Mr. Sandman". Janet Ertel Bleyer, the other singer on that recording, died in 1988.
During Super Bowl XLV, CarMax unveiled a new commercial featuring the Chordettes' 1955 song "Lonely Lips". A 2012 Kia Optima car commercial premiered during Super Bowl XLVI featuring the Chordette's recording of "Mister Sandman".
Their song "Lonely Lips" was featured on Season 5, Episode 3 ("Goodbye Kitty") of the television show Malcolm in the Middle (2003).
Their song "Mr. Sandman" was featured in the movies Halloween II (1981), Back to the Future (1985), Uncle Buck (1989), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998 film), Mr. Nobody (2009), TribeTwelve (2010 webseries on Youtube), The Little Death (2014) and Deadpool (2016) and in the "Sleep No More" episode of Doctor Who. It was also featured in the Haven episode "Enter Sandman" (Season 5 Episode 17), just a couple of weeks before the Doctor Who episode was broadcast.
"Mr. Sandman" was sampled on the song "Mr. Clean" by Yung Gravy.
Alice Mae Buschmann Spielvogel died in 1981 and is buried at Little Rock National Cemetery.
Janet Ertel Bleyer died in 1988.
Jinny Osborn (later known as Jinny Janis) died in 2003.
Dorothy "Dottie" (Hummitzsch) Schwartz died on April 4, 2016.
|Year||Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
b/w "I Don't Wanna See You Cryin'" (Non-album track)
b/w "The Dudelsack Song" (Non-album track)
|All the Very Best of the Chordettes|
b/w "I Told a Lie" (Non-album track)
b/w "I Don't Know, I Don't Care" (Non-album track)
|91||All the Very Best of the Chordettes|
|"Eddie My Love"
b/w "Whistlin' Willie" (Non-album track)
|"Born to Be with You"
b/w "Love Never Changes"
|"Lay Down Your Arms" /||16|
|"Teen Age Goodnight"||45|
|1957||"Come Home to My Arms"
b/w "(Fifi's) Walkin' the Poodle" (Non-album track)
|"Echo of Love"
b/w "Like a Baby" (from The Chordettes)
|"Just Between You and Me" /||8||The Chordettes|
|"Baby of Mine"
b/w "Baby, Come-a Back-a" (Non-album track)
|2||3||6||All the Very Best of the Chordettes|
b/w "Love Is a Two-Way Street" (Non-album track)
|1959||"No Other Arms, No Other Lips"
b/w "We Should Be Together" (Non-album track)
|"A Girl's Work Is Never Done"
b/w "No Wheels" (Non-album track)
|1960||"A Broken Vow"
b/w "All My Sorrows"
|1961||"Never on Sunday" /||13||4||Never on Sunday|
|"Faraway Star"||90||All the Very Best of the Chordettes|
|"The Exodus Song"
b/w "Theme from 'Goodbye Again'"
|Never on Sunday|
|1962||"The White Rose of Athens"
|"In the Deep Blue Sea"
b/w "All My Sorrows"
|1963||"True Love Goes On and On"
b/w "All My Sorrows"
- "Barbershop Harmony Society International Past Presidents" (PDF). August 21, 2018.
- "Chordettes". Oxford Music Online. Oxford Music Online. July 4, 2006. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
- CarMax – Gas Station – 2011 Super Bowl Commercial Ad Archived February 1, 2013, at Archive.today
- Lewandoske, Scott. "Alice Mae Buschmann Spielvogel". Find a Grave. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
- Hevesi, Dennis (April 10, 2009). "Nancy Overton, Singer for the Chordettes, Is Dead at 83". New York Times. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
- The Chordettes at AllMusic
- Nugent, Stephen / Fowler, Anne / Fowler, Pete (1976): Chart Log of American/British Top 20 Hits, 1955-1974. In: Gillett, Charlie / Frith, Simon (ed.): Rock File 4. Frogmore, St. Albans: Panther Books, p. 113f
- Whitburn, Joel (1973): Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, p. 13
- Whitburn, Joel (1994): Top Pop Singles 1955-1993. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Ltd., p. 112
- Whitburn, Joel (2005): The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Hits. 7. überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage, New York City, New York: Billboard Books, p. 129
- "Bubbling Under Hot 100". Top40Weekly. 2019. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- "Chordettes, The – Drifting And Dreaming (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Chordettes.|
- Picture and names of The Chordettes
- 'The Chordettes' Vocal Group Hall of Fame Page
- The Chordettes at AllMusic
- The Chordettes' page on the Primarily A Cappella site
- Chordette Lynn Evans harmonizes in classroom while a teacher
- The Chordettes : Official Covers Discography
- Chordettes sing "Lollipop" and "Mr. Sandman" on the Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show, February 22, 1958
- Carol Buschmann Interview NAMM Oral History Library (2010)
- Dorothy Schwartz Interview NAMM Oral History Library (2010)