“Wonderland By Night” by Bert Kaempfert had ruled the American singles charts for three weeks. Its reign came to an end when “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles ascended to the top position January 30, 1961 and remained there for two weeks.
Shirley Owen, Doris Coley, Beverly Lee, and Addie Harris formed The Shirelles in 1958. The group name came from the words Shirley being combined with the Chantels who were a Doo-wop group of the day.
The four girls first performed at a high school talent show. It would be a first stop on a journey that would end with their induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1996. They would place 26 songs on The United States Singles Charts 1958-1967. Their “Soldier Boy” would also hit number 1 during 1962. They were one of the first black vocal groups to consistently cross over onto the primarily white pop charts.
“Will You Love Me Tomorrow” was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin. King would include it on her legendary Tapestry album. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it as one of The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.
The song would be banned on a number of radio stations because the lyrics were considered suggestive. It was the early 1950s and people did not talk about the morning after. Still, enough stations did play the song to enable it to become one of the best-selling singles of the year.
One final tip of the hat to The Shirelles who 50 years ago ruled the music world with one of the memorable songs of the early 1960’s.