Jimmy Mack, Jimmy, oh Jimmy Mack, when are you coming back? My arms are missin’ you, my lips feel the same way too, I tried so hard to be true, cuz I promised I do, but this boy keeps coming around trying to wear my resistance down… the plaintiff words sung by one of the best girl groups of the 60’s – Martha Reeves and The Vandellas.
It told the story of a lonely young wife wondering when her soldier husband was coming back before the local, sweet-talking lothario got his hooks into her. Jimmy Mack was a popular song at the crux of the Vietnam War circa 1967-68 when thousands of young wives/girlfriends across the United States were sharing the same loneliness and temptations.
These were the kinds of themes that girl groups of the 60’s did best. Lonely love, unrequited love, or just plain messed up love; the girl groups had the corner on it. There were usually 3 of them, sometimes 4, always dressed like Miss American contestants in their glamorous glittery evening dresses, or the hip mini-skirt fashions of the day, their hair amazingly coifed in the “big hair” 60’s styles – from foot high French twists to elaborate flips, dips and artichokes.
Some of the girls were truly that – only 15-17, but the sound and sentiments that came out of them were romantically sophisticated, amazing timeless pleas of the heart that still sound remarkably relevant today. How many guys didn’t try to call Beechwood 4-5-7-8-9 just to see if it was really some lonely girl’s phone number?
Although sometimes it was hard to tell one girl group’s sound from another, especially those produced by Phil Spector and his “wall of sound”, no 60’s party was complete without a stack of the girl groups’ records. And, like one of The Shirelles songs that asked, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? Yes! Its 50 years later and the music of the 60’s girl groups have found even new followers in today’s generations – the late, great Amy Winehouse having even recorded this same song.
So, for a trip down memory lane, here are 10 of the all-time favorite best 60’s girl groups that ever graced the vinyl on a 45. Follow the links and look back to girl group performances of the 60s on television dance parties like Shindig and American Bandstand, and listen to the songs we all loved to dance to at the sock hops in the gym, or alone in our bedrooms on our transistor radios. Who was your favorite?
1. The Supremes, Stop in the Name of Love
2. Martha and The Vandellas, Dancin’ in the Street
2. The Shangri-La’s, Leader of the Pack.
3. The Crystals, Da-Doo-Ron-Ron
4. The Shirelles, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?
5. The Ronettes, Be My Baby
6. The Orlons, Don’t Hang Up
7. The Marvelettes, Beechwood 4-5-7-8-9
8. The Dixie Cups, The Chapel of Love
9. The Chiffons, He’s So Fine
10. The Angels, My Boyfriend’s Back