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Then He Kissed Me by The Crystals

Album: Today's HitsReleased: 1963Charted:
6
2
  • By July, 1963, Phil Spector had already made the Hot 100 with seven chart hits that he produced. He successfully ended his partnership with Lester Sill and began his marriage to Annette Merar. Shortly after his marriage, Spector traveled to New York looking for a song to follow up on The Crystals success with "Da Doo Ron Ron." "Then He Kissed Me" was the perfect song for the group and Phil put together one of his most extravagant productions for the record. (Thanks to Kent at the Forgotten Hits newsletter, which you can join at The60sshop@aol.com.)
  • Dolores "La La" Brooks is the only Crystal to perform on this song. Spector recorded the group's first recordings in New York City, where they were from. When he relocated to Los Angeles, he had a group called The Blossoms (with Darlene Love singing lead) record the songs "He's A Rebel" and "He's Sure the Boy I Love," which he issued as The Crystals.

    On all subsequent Crystals recordings, Spector flew Brooks from New York to Los Angeles to perform the lead vocals, but the other Crystals never made the trip, as Spector preferred to use local backup singers.

    This was also around the time when the group shrunk from five members to four, losing Mary Thomas, who left to get married.
  • Phil Spector produced this using his "Wall Of Sound" technique, which meant long hours in the studio for the musicians, as Spector was notoriously stingy allowing breaks. His engineer Larry Levine recalled: "He didn’t want to give them a bathroom break. Not because he wanted to work them to death, but because he didn’t want them to move microphones or bodies or anything. He wanted everything to stay as it was in the studio. But he would work for three hours or more before we ever put anything on tape. And I think the reason was he wanted to tire these great musicians so that they weren’t playing individualistic; they were too tired. And so they just melded into this wall of sound."
  • This was written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. Phil Spector also received a songwriting credit. (thanks, Jerro - New Alexandria, PA)
  • Crystals lead singer La La Brooks was just 15 when she recorded this song. Had she ever been kissed? "Yeah," she replied when we asked her. "My little boyfriend at 13 years kissed me on my mouth at the door. But not kiss kiss - you know what I'm saying?"
  • To coax the vocal performance out of La La Brooks, Phil Spector dimmed the lights in the studio and gave her specific instructions. "He said, 'Think of somebody kissing you,'" Brooks told us. "I was a kid, so I'm not going to think like that. So he would turn off the lights, I would have a little light on my music, on my words, and then he said, 'Now, concentrate.' And I said (singing), 'Well, he walked up to me and he asked me if I wanted to dance.' He said, 'That's the way you do it!'

    So I guess he had to train my mind to think that I was talking about a boy. He knew how to get things out of you."
  • This was The Crystals' last US Top 40 hit, as Phil Spector soon lost interest in them and turned his attention to another girl-group called The Ronettes. The song's first appearance on an album was on a various-artist compilation of Phil Spector's artists entitled Today's Hits.
  • In 1965, the Beach Boys recorded a version titled "Then I Kissed Her," which reached UK #4.
  • The flip side of the record was an instrumental called "Brother Julius," which was named after a hamburger stand near the Gold Star studio where the recording sessions took place. Spector usually put throwaway songs on the B-sides of his singles so the DJs wouldn't play them instead of the A-sides.
  • This song opens the 1987 movie Adventures in Babysitting, where Elisabeth Shue dances to it while getting ready for a date. It also plays throughout a scene in the 1990 film Goodfellas where Ray Liotta takes his wife out to the Copacabana. The song was also used in a 2006 episode of The Simpsons called "Marge and Homer Turn a Couple Play."
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Comments: 12

On August 11th 1963, "Then He Kissed Me" by the Crystals entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #71; and on September 8th, 1963 it peaked at #6 {for 3 weeks} and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...Between 1961 and 1964 the Brooklyn quartet had eight Top 100 records; three made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "He's A Rebel" for one week on October 28th, 1962...The girls just missed having a fourth Top 10 record when "He's Sure the Boy I Love" peaked at #11 {for 2 weeks} on February 10th, 1963.Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Back in 1963 I bought this single because it sounded so cool & had a gigantic sound on the car radios of the time (no stereos!!). I soon learned it was called "The Wall of Sound" from producer Phil Spector. Over the decades my music tastes changed to hard rock & punk rock & other things later. Growing up changes your tastes too. Recently, I heard this song again on a Siriux Radio oldies show. It brought back such memories of good times and old girlfriends. I bought "The Best of The Crystals" recently on ABKCO Records' CD which is all mono tracks - the way Spector intended "The Wall of Sound" to be heard. Some fans argue that the stereo versions convey a more gigantic sound than the original mono, but I don't really know if it does. Listening to any Spector "Wall of Sound" hit sounds different when using head-phones than without them. I think I hear a more gigantic sound without using headphones - stereo OR mono. The intro of "Then He Kissed Me" starts out simple with the guitar, then vocals and the drums echo, and the orchestra comes in later and the whole ensemble is up and reeling & rocking aat FULL TILT!! In a similar fashion, The Ronettes' first 2 hits (Be My Baby & Baby, I Love You) start simple then everything else starts in & all hell breaks loose. Love it!Randy - Fayettevile, Ar
What a fantastic hit for The Crystals in 1963. Spector's Wall-of-Sound production really sent this recording into the national Top Ten. I wonder if it ever earned a Gold Record? Even if it didn't, the song brings back a lot of good memories for me in high school. There's also a stereo version on CD out there because I heard it on an oldies station. Even though the original mono recording is a blast, the stereo version impresses too. The intro then the big build-up to orchestration is truly awesome in any version! This hit and "Baby I Love You" by The Ronettes both have awesome productions by Spector. Some of the CD mono versions really could stand a digital remastering though.Elmer H - Westville, Ok
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/He_Hit_Me_(It_Felt_Like_a_Kiss) Because of this web address I always believed that this song's original title was "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)???Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Ellie Greenwich also wrote one of Phil Spector's most famous hits, a recording which Brian Wilson use to play when he started each day, "Be My Baby". Good bye Ellie and thank you for all those great songs you & Jeff Barry wrote (and Phil).John - Eugene, Or
Below is the saddest news I've heard in a long time. I have loved ELLIE forever it seems. I would gaze at the tiny sepia photograph of her on the back of LET IT BE WRITTEN, LET IT BE SUNG for the better part of a summer's day. Her voice was so sweet I was positively enraptured by it. It sounds silly, but I can't believe it. I never thought I'd have to deal with such heartbreak.John - Wells, Me
Ellie Greenwich died on August 26 at the age of 68. Thanks for your talent, for the "Symphonies for the kids" you wrote with Jeff Barry and Phil Spector. R.I.P.Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
Then She Kissed Me was preformed by Bruce Springsteen @ the bottom line as wellJon - Redding, Ct
Who else did a cover of this. Some other female vocalists like a Diana Ross or Aretha Franklin sound alike.Jon - Oakridge, Or
Great song!!! Simple and to the point. You gotta love oldies. This song appears in "Adventures in Babysitting" as well.Dee - Indianapolis, In
This is one of my favorites song of The Crystals.
It has a nice intro and you can immediately recognize the song. A great performance of Phil Spector, perfect as always. "Wall of Sound" mmm.
Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
This song was used in entrance scene to the Copacabana in the movie "Goodfellas".Joe - Oswego, Ny