He's A Rebel (1962)

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The Crystals.

They also had hits with "There's No Other (Like My Baby)," (US #20,) "He's Sure the Boy I Love" (US #11,) "Da Doo Ron Ron" (US #3, UK #5,) and "Then He Kissed Me" (US #6, UK #2.)

In truth, The Crystals did not sing on "He's A Rebel." A 21-year old Phil Spector (born Harvey Phillip Spector December 26, 1940 in The Bronx, New York) was working in Los Angeles when heard the demo of this song.

Spector quickly assembled a group of musicians, singer Darlene Love (born Darlene Wright July 26, 1938, in Los Angeles, CA) and her group the Blossoms to record under the "Crystals" name. Legend has it that the real Crystals, based in Brooklyn, were not able to travel to Los Angeles fast enough to suit the LA-based Spector, who wanted to release it before anyone else had a chance to have a hit with it.

The arrangement was unusually dense for the period, with two bass players, two guitarists, and an almost martial beat. The song dramatically jumps to a higher key for the chorus, remaining in that key for the rest of the song. It was the record that elevated Spector into an industry phenomenon, also blueprinting the "Wall of Sound" for which he is lauded.

On July 3, 1965, "He's A Rebel" was performed by the Crystals on the music variety TV show Shivaree, with Dolores "LaLa" Brooks lip-syncing Darlene Love's original vocal.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked "He's A Rebel" at #236 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Chart position:
#1 (US), #19 (UK).

"He's A Rebel"
was the Crystals' only US #1 hit.

It was #1 for 2 weeks in November 1962. It was preceded at #1 by "Monster Mash" (Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers) and succeeded by "Big Girls Don't Cry" (The Four Seasons.)

The Top Ten Songs:
November 3, 1962 (US Billboard).

  1. "He's A Rebel" (Crystals)
  2. "Only Love Can Break A Heart" (Gene Pitney)
  3. "Do You Love Me" (Contours)
  4. "Monster Mash" (Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt Kickers)
  5. "All Alone Am I" (Brenda Lee)
  6. "Big Girls Don't Cry" (Four Seasons)
  7. "Gina" (Johnny Mathis)
  8. "Limbo Rock" (Chubby Checker)
  9. "Next Door To An Angel" (Neil Sedaka)
  10. "Return To Sender" (Elvis Presley)

Written by:
Gene Pitney (born February 17, 1940 in Hartford, Connecticut, died April 5, 2006 in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom.)

Gene Pitney charted more than 20 Top 40 singles in the 1960s. He also wrote "Hello Mary Lou" (Ricky Nelson) and "Rubber Ball" (Bobby Vee). In 2002, Pitney was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Pitney’s biggest hit, the Burt Bacharach/Hal David-penned "Only Love Can Break A Heart," reached #2. It was, ironically, kept from #1 by this song, which he himself had written.

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