Girl vocal groups reached the top of the charts dozens of times throughout the 1960s. The Shirelles, The Marvelettes, The Crystals, The Chiffons, and The Supremes all reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. One group that is often overlooked is The Angels, whose “My Boyfriend’s Back” was enjoying a three week run at the top of the charts 50 years ago this week.
Lead singer Peggy Santiglia and sisters Barbara and Phyllis Allbut began singing together in their New Jersey high school as The Starlets. They began traveling into New York City to provide backing vocals for a number of artists. This led them to cut a demo for Caprice Records. That song, “’Til,” released under the name The Angels, reached the top 20 and was followed by “Cry Baby Cry,” which peaked at number 38.
1963 found them recording for Smash Records and working for producers Robert Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer, who would later produce The McCoys and record themselves as The Strangeloves. They wrote “My Boyfriend’s Back” for the group and it entered the Hot 100 on August 3, 1963. Four weeks later it was the number one single in the country.
The song told a simple story set to catchy music, which was a staple for AM radio in the pre-Beatles era. The Angels broke no new musical ground but their harmonies were right on and they were one of the better examples of the early 1960s group sound.
They would have only two more charting singles. After undergoing a number of personnel changes the group disbanded during the early 1970s. Every once in a while, the original members get together for a concert or two.
The Angels may have become a footnote in the history of rock music but 50 years ago they had the most popular song in the United States.