This was written by a young songwriter named Ronnie Mack, who died of cancer shortly after it was released. Mack, born July 11, 1940, was from The Bronx, and in 1960 he assembled three girls from the local James Monroe High School to form The Chiffons: 14-year-old Judy Craig and 13-year-olds Patricia Bennett and Barbara Lee. In 1962, Mack pitched some of his songs to Bright Tunes Productions, which was run by The Tokens - the group had a #1 hit the previous year with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight
," and Capitol Records gave them a 10-record production contract (they already recorded 9 of their 10 - all flops). They liked his song "Oh My Lover," and decided to record it with another one of his songs, "He's So Fine" as the B-side.
Mack added a fourth girl to the group as a ringer: Sylvia Peterson, who had sung with the Philadelphia group Little Jimmy and The Tops. Now a quartet, The Chiffons recorded the songs with The Tokens at Capitol's studio in August 1962.
Once the songs were recorded, it was clear that "He's So Fine" was the hit, but The Tokens couldn't find a taker. Capitol Records was the obvious choice and had dibs on the song, but they didn't want it - their boss thought it was "too trite." "They wrote us a letter to tell us how bad it stunk," said Philip Margo of The Tokens. "Then Victor turned it down, Columbia turned it down, ABC-Paramount turned it down. The master stayed in the can for six months before a small, independent company named Laurie took it."
According to Margo, the song was finally released in February 1963 (some sources say December 1962), and it was a massive hit, going to #1 in the US for four weeks and also hitting #1 on the R&B charts.
For Ronnie Mack, this was a dream come true. His sister Dotty Sanders told us: "I can remember me and my brother and sisters looking out the window waiting to see our mother come home from cleaning someone's house. Sometimes her knees would be bleeding and that would hurt my brother so bad, because with my father being dead, he knew he was now the man of the family.
In 1963 my brother's dream came true. He created a group called The Chiffons and he wrote a song for them that became the number one record in the world: 'He's So Fine.'
Ronnie was able to do all the things he had promised my mother. I can remember one night he came home and woke me and my youngest sister Brenda up and told us to go get in bed with our mother, then he opened this big suitcase and poured money all over us.
What I need you to know is that this blessing didn't come easy for my brother. There were many times he was laughed at because of the clothes he wore and the way he looked, but he had a dream and he never gave up on it.
Ronnie Mack died at the age of 23. At the time of his death he had the number one record around the world. He never got the chance to see his Gold Record, although his production company, Bright Tunes Production, had done a rush job on getting it made, but unfortunately by that time cancer had taken over his body and mind." (For photos and more, check out "He's So Fine: The Ronnie Mack Story