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The Royalettes

This Baltimore quartet was something of a link between the girl group and "sweet soul" styles. Their harmonies were clearly grounded in the early-'60s girl group approach. But they also benefited from pop-oriented, occasionally grandiose production at the MGM label, where they recorded their most successful work. If they sometimes sounded like a female version of Little Anthony & the Imperials' later recordings, it's no coincidence. Little Anthony's producer, Teddy Randazzo, also handled the Royalettes, and wrote much of their MGM material.

The Royalettes made some obscure singles for Chancellor and Warner Bros. before being signed to MGM in 1964. Their third single, the lush "It's Gonna Take a Miracle," was by far their most successful outing, stopping just shy of the Top 40. It was destined to be more identified, however, with singer/songwriter Laura Nyro, who made it the title track of her 1971 album of soul covers. In 1982, Deniece Williams took the song into the Top Ten with her own rendition.

The Royalettes did have another small hit in 1965 with "I Want to Meet Him," but never dented the charts again, although MGM spared no expense on their elaborate productions for the group's singles. A final MGM single, produced by Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, also failed to get anywhere, and the group broke up by the end of the 1960s, after a final 45 for Roulette. ~ Richie Unterberger
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