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The Caravelles

A female duo consisting of Lois Wilkinson and Andrea Simpson from London, England, whose peak recording period was from 1963 to 1968. They were co-workers who entertained at office parties and amateur shows. Encouraged by co-workers to cut a record, they did a demo of "You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry," a tune they discovered on the back of Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons." They named themselves the Caravelles after the French airliner. A local company, BPR Records, liked the demo and redid the song in a professional studio. It became a big hit in the United Kingdom and was picked up by Smash Records for North American distribution, and nearly aced Billboard before nesting at number three on December 21, 1963.

Smash released a succession of clones but found few takers. On "Lovin' Just My Style," the Caravelles developed a tougher sound; it sounds like a tune from a D-rated movie, tough biker girls yelling over a noisy rhythm section with an exaggerated rock guitarist imploding all over the place. Then came "Don't Blow Your Cool," sung in their traditional breathy harmony style. The sales were still disappointing, thus another style switch to rock/folk on "Hey Mama, You've Been on My Mind." A nice approach but there still was no demand for the Caravelles' product. Lois Wilkinson left to go solo, recorded as Lois Lane, married, and appeared on BBC's programs singing pop hits. Andrea Simpson carried on with the Caravelles until the '80s, recording but not hitting; with replacements, Simpson still does the occasional gig. ~ Andrew Hamilton
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