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The Chantels

One of the very first girl groups, the Chantels are best-known for their 1957 hit "Maybe." Between 1957 and 1963, the trio racked up a number of hit singles, but none of them were ever as popular as "Maybe," which came to be regarded as one of the definitive singles of the genre.

All five members of the Chantels -- Arlene Smith, Lois Harris, Sonia Goring, Jackie Landry, and Rene Minus -- met as children, when they sang in the choir of Saint Anthony of Padua, a Bronx-area school. Arlene Smith was the leader of the quintet. Smith wrote all of the group's early material and she was the one who convinced the other girls -- whose age ranged between 14 and 17 at the time -- to audition for Richard Barrett, a record producer and a member of the doo wop group the Valentines. Barrett signed the band to End Records and produced the Chantels' first single, a Smith song called "He's Gone." Released in the summer of 1957, the single peaked at number 71. However, the group's second single -- another Smith composition called "Maybe" -- was a smash hit, peaking at number two on the R&B charts and number 15 on the pop charts in early 1958. "Maybe" sold more copies than its chart position suggests; the single was pirated by several other small record labels and none of those sales were tallied for the final chart position.

For the next year, the Chantels tried in vain to deliver a follow-up as successful as "Maybe." Two hit singles -- "Every Night (I Pray)" and "I Love You So" -- followed on End Records, but the label dropped them after a handful of other records failed to make an impact. Around that time, Smith left the group to pursue a solo career and Harris had left the group. The Chantels replaced Smith with vocalist Annette Smith (no relation) and continued as a quartet.

In the summer of 1959, the group supported Richard Barrett on his single, "Summer's Love," which peaked at number 29 on the R&B charts. In 1961, the Chantels signed with Carlton Records, where they had two minor pop hits: "Look in My Eyes" and "Well, I Told You." Carlton dropped the group the following year and the band moved to Ludix, where they had a minor hit with "Eternally" in the spring of 1963.

The Chantels continued performing until the end of the decade; they officially disbanded in 1970. A few years later, Arlene Smith re-formed the Chantels, recruiting four new members; the other original members all retired from the entertainment business. Smith continued to lead various incarnations of the Chantels into the '90s. When she wasn't touring the oldies circuit with the Chantels, Smith worked as a schoolteacher. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: "Maybe": The Best Of The Chantels

1. Maybe

2. The Plea

3. Come My Little Baby

5. Prayee

6. He's Gone

7. I Love You So

9. Whoever You Are

10. How Could You Call It Off

11. Sure Of Love

12. If You Try

15. Well, I Told You

16. Here It Comes Again

23. I'm The Girl

25. Memories (My Memories Of You)

26. I'll Walk Alone

27. I'm Confessin (That I Love You)

28. Goodbye To Love

x

Track List: Here It Comes Again

1. Here It Comes Again

x

Track List: I Love You So And More Chantels Classics

1. Maybe

2. I Love You So

6. Come My Little Baby

7. Congratulations

8. Goodbye To Love

9. He's Gone

10. How Could You Call It Off

12. I'll Walk Alone

13. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)

14. I'm The Girl

15. If You Try

20. Prayee

21. Sure Of Love

22. The Plea

24. Whoever You Are

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

1. Goodbye To Love

2. Memories (My Memories Of You)

3. Whoever You Are

4. So Real

5. I Can't Take It (There's Our Song Again)

7. How Could You Call It Off?

8. Sure Of Love

9. If You Try

10. He's Gone

11. Maybe

12. Every Night (I Pray)

13. I Love You So

14. The Plea

15. I've Lied

16. Summer's Love

x

Track List: The Best Of The Chantels

1. He's Gone

2. The Plea

3. Maybe

4. I've Lied

5. So Real

6. Every Night

7. Whoever You Are [Stereo Version]

8. I Love You So

9. How Could You Call It Off?

10. Prayee

11. Sure Of Love

12. Memories (My Memories Of You)

13. If You Try

14. I Can't Take It (There's Our Song Again)

15. Goodbye To Love

16. Summer's Love

17. Look In My Eyes [Stereo Version]

18. Well, I Told You

Comments

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Can't help it Bob loved that group
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Arlene has a amazing voice
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Has to be a great group 14 comments from Somers!!!
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Our National Anthem....AD R .
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Dance night at the North West hall. That lady you been staring at all nite ask you to dance.....I love you so.
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railman9763
The Chantel, one of my top 5 groups,every t i m e . i I hear any song reminds me of my sister sing to it,take me way back
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The Chantels are my favorite of all time girls group's
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What a classic !!!!!!!
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The Chantels is one great female groups love them
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Every night with out you
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The greatest girl group in my opinion Arlene Smith great voice
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Good
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Hay
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Rock������
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Do wop
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Look in my eyes tell me you love me
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I just flat out love Doo Wop
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When I first heard Arlene Smith and The Chantels record Maybe, I bought it and every single that came afterwards. What a great and powerful singer.
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Arlene Smith I love to listen to her sing
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Maybe the best song by any group
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one of my favorites reminds me of my mom rip she would sing this song so good
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I love you so .Is my favorite .By the Chantel
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I'm sorry
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Arlene Smith see could sing to me for a long time
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I would love to go back and look into her eyes
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Love them all!
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Another great song. The best girl group of all.
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Do not let this group fade silently in the night . they are co-equal with the five satins as all time NO. 1
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My Favorite Female Oldies Group Of All Times... "The Chantels"
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I agree the Chantel are best
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Love this group
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To me this group was one of the best from 1957 through 1963. They bring back memories of my youth.
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mike3345mike
great sounds --gal sitting on a63CHEVY IMPALA...CUS T O M I Z E D W SWIRL CHROME TAILIGHT INSERTS.
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Love the Chantels,als o love Look in my eyes.
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I I grew up with this music.The music of today just can't can't compete with Motown and Doowop
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lawpete49
This is the definition of Old School
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Likealltheso n g s u s i n g
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Maybe was the Love song of the late 1950's....
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Awesome !
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what are the names of all members of the chantels
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bbgjono
Best all time ever group! Male or FEMALE! Arlene Smith is the greatest singer EVER,! No could ever copy her rendition of Maybe! No one else could hit those notes!
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MAYBE















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Ah the chantels, I have two (2) copies of the original album with the girls in front of the jukebox.
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Deborah, a very ice tribute to your mother!
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THE CHANTLEL'S REMIND ME OF MY MOM GROWING UP IN CHINO SHE WOULD SING ALL THE SONGS AND WAS A GOOD SINGER SO WHEN I HEAR THEM SING IT MOTHER I MISS YOU WE ALL DO RIP SEE YOU SOMEDAY LOVE YOU
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izzympa117
Love the Chantel's, a Love long ago and missed!
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Fantastic. "Maybe" has to be one of the greatest songs ever by an all-out group.
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Such a powerful beautiful voice! !!!!
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Arlene Smith is alive and kicking. I keep in touch with her, especially on her birthday, October 5th.
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I love the Chantels Maybe, The Plea, and He's Gone! Do you remember the hot dances in the basement? RLH
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