You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry

Album: 60's Chartbusters (1963)
Charted: 6 3
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  • Question: In 1963, what British act had a hit on the US Hot 100 which started a 38-year run of at least one UK act on the American chart, finally ending on April 27, 2002? Hands up all of you who said The Beatles. It was actually female pop duo The Caravelles, whose light, breathy cover vocal style found favor across the Atlantic two months before the Fab Four started the British Invasion.
  • The song was a cover of a 1950 Ernest Tubb Country hit, penned by Bob Merrill and Terry Shand. It was later reworked by Tennessee Ernie Ford as the flip side of his 1955 hit "Sixteen Tons."
  • The Caravelles were Andrea Simpson and Lois Wilkinson. Lois met Andrea when they worked in a car showroom, but by night Lois was playing jazz at the Tatty Bogle club in Soho. Her ambition was to become a session guitarist. "People said, 'Girls can't play guitar,'" she recalled to Mojo magazine February 2012. "I struck up an acquaintance with Andrea because of music, she played clarinet."
  • Naming themselves after a French airliner, The Caravelles began singing standards and found their voices combined well. A friend from the Tatty Bogle suggested they cover "You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry" and a demo found its way to the independent company Ritz, who issued a re-recorded version on Decca. "Everybody liked it," recalled Lois and the duo soon found themselves in the UK charts.

    Four months later the feather-light Country saunter hit the US charts, after being picked up by Smash Records for North American distribution. "We went to America for six weeks," recalled Lois to Mojo. "Our last engagement was in February 1964, second on the bill to The Beatles in Washington DC. (The Beatles first proper US date). It was like being in a boxing ring, I didn't think we were audible."

    By their return from America, two follow-up singles had missed the charts back home. The Caravelles also failed to hit the Hot 100 again. "I don't know why," said Lois. "I wish I knew. Perhaps the perception of us was that we were a one-hit wonder."

    Lois left The Caravelles in early 1966, returning to jazz as Lois Lane and she later sang pop hits on the BBC's That's Life in the 1970s. Andrea carried on with Lynne Hamilton, then Pauline Kelly into the 1990s.

Comments: 3

  • Pelos Parados from CaliforniaThis recording is the kind you love on the first hearing. For Andrea Simpson and Lois Wilkinson, "You Don't Have To Be a Baby To Cry" was an outstanding arrangement that they nailed to perfection. A simple song, a simple arrangement and you have an instant hit. It's typical American Country roots, making it simple to play on Guitar or Piano.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 15th 1963 "You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry" by the Caravelles peaked at #3 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on October 27th and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #6 in the duos' native England...
    Was originally recorded in 1950 by Ernest Tubb; his version peaked at #10 on Billboard's C&W Best Sellers chart...
    The Caravelles had one other record, "Have You Ever Been Lonely", make the Top 100, it peaked at #94 in 1964.
  • Zabadak from London, EnglandFrank Ifield's 1963 UK #4 hit, "Nobody's Darlin' But Mine", featured a cover of this on the flip.
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