Colorradio.com - The Teen Queens
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Betty (Right) and Rose Collins (Left) were the Teen Queens, and at 16 and 14 years old respectively, they were very young to be in the music industry. But they came from a musical family. Brother Aaron Collins was a founding member of the Jacks and Cadets, and he arranged for them to record for the same label family he was on, Modern and RPM. Collins (wrote) their first hit which was originally titled, "Johnny My Love." He was thinking about all the Johnny Ace tribute records, but they were fading fast. It was re-titled "Eddie My Love", and was the Teen Queens biggest selling record in their career. Betty sang the harmonies, and the more talented Rose would harmonize a third above her. They also recorded as the Humdingers, shown below, along with most all of their records as the Teen Queens, along with a couple of LP's. Even though they never matched "Eddie My Love" in popularity, they made some great records. Unfortunately, drugs took their toll on the sisters, and they both died over 40 years ago.
This is the 78 of the Teen Queens first recording, "Eddie My Love" backed with a decent flip "Just Goofed." Interestingly, they are marked as "Teen Queen." This was apparently a mix-up when they printed the first set of labels, as I have also seen these on the 45's. Further, they must have discovered the error and used up the labels, as I also have it on one side of a record and "teen queens" on the other side.
This is the way it was intended to show on the label, as "Teen Queens" The 78 is shown above. Writing credits include Aaron Collins (Jacks/Cadets), and Maxwell Davis who played sax. The Teen Queens recorded the disc in December of 1955, and it was released in early 1956.
The 45 RPM issue. The flat black label started with this issue. RPM was a major label in Los Angeles (Culver City), and had some of the great west coast artists associated with them. Although the duo was from Los Angeles, the record first broke in New York.
RPM records were also pressed on a blue label, as well as the flat black shown a row above. The blue label had been pressed on numbers 363-460. Also of note, "Eddie My Love" was covered very successfully by the Chordettes, Fontane Sisters, Lillian Briggs and others.
Although a bit faded, here is a red RPM label example of "Eddie My Love." Sometimes with big sellers, many different colors of paper is used. It would be especially true if a color change is done during the middle of a huge hit, that continues to sell for many months.
The 78 of "So All Alone" was the follow up to the wildly popular "Eddie My Love."A nice effort by the girls, but it didn't sell as well. In fact, the Teen Queens were on the road at the time promoting their hit. "Baby Mine" was the flip.
The flat black 45 of the record, it was released in April of 1956. Collins and Davis once again have their names under the writing credits. Although a duo, the Teen Queens are listed as a vocal group on the label. Because of the success of "Stranded In The Jungle", Aaron Collins would now go on to promoting his record with the Cadets, and had little involvement with the Teen Queens from here on out.
Their next record was a remake of a song from Johnny Otis's Dig label by a group called the Tears. Released in June 1956, "Until The Day I Die" failed to spark much action, though it is a respectable version. "Billy Boy" was an average recording, and appeared on the flip. Pictured is the 78 RPM record.
Here is the black label 45. "Until The Day I Die" has the reference to Dig Music, which was Johnny Otis's label. The flip side shows the writing team of Collins, Davis and Ling, who show up on a few records by the Teen Queens.
Possibly my favorite Teen Queens record, "Red Top", was the next 1956 issue. It was a remake of the King Pleasure and Betty Carter record from 1953. And that record was taken from the 1947 instrumental by Gene Ammons. In the words that Betty and Rose sing, "Eddie My Love" is mentioned referencing their hit. This record had it's biggest sales in Kansas City. "Love Sweet Love" is the flip. Another nice up tempo recording.
The 45 RPM version is shown above. The black label is still the color of choice for RPM although red and blue labels can still be found.
Still in 1956, "My Heart's Desire" was flipped with "Rock Everybody." The flip is a decent rock and roll song. The "A" side is a ballad that is very mediocre. It was recorded at the same session as "Red Top."
The usual and most often seen black label 45 RPM issue of "Rock Everybody" and "My Heart's Desire." This was their next to last release for RPM records.
In 1957, Crown records, another subsidiary of RPM, released an LP of the Teen Queens in hoped of attracting some attention to the duo, the variations are shown a few rows lower. RPM released one last single. "Two Loves And Two Lives" and "I Miss You." Both were ballads, and neither attracted the record buyers.
Here is the 45 RPM version of the record on the black label. Check out the production credits on the bottom of the label going to the duo of Leiber and Stoller. They were doing a lot of work with the Coasters about this same time.
The Teen Queens switched to the powerhouse RCA records for another shot at getting back in the sales column. The first of two issues for RCA was from 1958 and "Dear Tommy" was backed with "You Good Boy, You Get Cookie." It rated a 75 in the March 31st issue of Billboard magazine. By 1958, 78's were on the way out, and generally were pressed in lesser quantities. It made sense that RCA would initially press this one by the Teen Queens in the format, as previously shown with the RPM label, it had pressed 78's with all six of their discs.
Here is the more common 45 RPM pressing. "Dear Tommy" was another try at the "Eddie My Love" formula, at least in the type of lyrics and theme. "You Good Boy - You Get Cookie" was a novelty record, and was a decent choice for the "B" side.
The second and last release for RCA was "First Crush" and "Movie Star." Again, the cash registers remained silent, and they were dropped from RCA. I don't believe this was pressed by RCA as a 78, but I could be wrong.
Before their trip to Buck Ram's Antler records, it appears they stopped at MJC. This label was owned by Aaron Collins with Will Jones and Lloyd McCraw, and the owners had just a few releases with the label. I believe this is the Teen Queens recording under a different name. "Hum Dinger" and "Wiggly Feeling" make me think of Rose and Betty. This was issued on red vinyl. I have not confirmed a black vinyl issue yet. Click records for a view including the red vinyl.
Antler records actually released five records by the Teen Queens. The first was an answer to the Big Jay McNeely song, and they called it "There's Nothing On Your Mind - Part One",and "Part Two." 1960.
The next Antler 45 for the Teen Queens was called "I'm A Fool." It is an up tempo rock and roll number the the girls. The flip side is a mid tempo novelty song called "Politician" complete with a few official sounding political riffs. The previous owner spelled "vote" on the label - who knows, maybe it was used tongue in cheek during a political season. Probably the toughest Teen Queens Antler 45 to find.
The Teen Queens (and Buck Ram) released a picture sleeve with "Donny." Another good tactic to get exposure at the radio stations. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work. Lyrics are also included on the back of the sleeve. 1961.
The third release was "Donny" and the flip side was the instrumental version of "Donny." This goes with the previous picture sleeve. Seems odd that they didn't have enough material to put out a regular side, but it could have been a promo. It certainly made it easy to decide what to play. 1961
The last Antler label release number was "I Heard Violins" backed with"Magoo Can See." A ballad flipped with a novelty jump tune. Another bomb, and that was ALMOST the end of the Antler recordings. This is the DJ copy from 1961.
This Antler release has the same number, 4017, but they tried a re-record of the Teen Queens biggest hit. It does not appear it produced many sales, except to Carol Kaufman who attached her sticker to the label. The flip was from Antler 4016, "Donny" and it was the vocal version. I am thinking it is still 1961 for the release date.
But wait! There's more! Press records gave it a try, and issued "Doodle Doo Doo" and "That Twistin Feeling." Instead of the Teen Queens, it was just Betty And Rose. A fun two sider, it didn't make much noise either. Since brother Aaron Collins was now with the Flares on Press (1962), he must have had some influence to give his sisters a shot on the label. Looks like it was just one shot and out.
This looks to be the first of the Kent label releases for the Teen Queens, on the all black label. Kent had many reissues of Modern and RPM label material, but also had some original recordings too. This was issued in late 1960, a reissue of the RPM recording from 1956.
Kent records was part of the Crown label family, and they re-released "Eddie My Love"on the all black label, now on issue 359. This was eleven issues in front of the first Kent label shown above and put it out in 1961.
Here it is on the gray and black.
One of many records issued on the Lana label. These records were normally alternate takes of a big hit, but no text alerted the buyer to that small detail. All the information is the same. This issue included both sides that came out on the original RPM record, and was issued in 1964.
Here is the classic 1957 LP that Crown records issued, with a great cover. This had cuts from the RPM singles and included "Zig Zag" and "Teenage Idol" that were LP only songs. Click to enlarge.
Above are both of the Crown LP record labels. A total of twelve were on the LP. Crown records were based in Culver City, CA.
Here is an odd pressing of the same LP as above. The label on the record is Best, and the markings on the jacket are American International. American International is shown out of Philadelphia, so i doubt if it is related to the Los Angeles based movie and or record firms. The track listings and photographs are identical. And, there is reference to Crown records on the cover. You can see the ATI sticker in the upper right corner of the LP cover. It is also on the back of the cover, at the bottom. My guess is that Crown released it first, and American International either had an agreement with crown to distribute it on the east coast.....or did it anyway!
Here are both of the Best labels from the LP. Black and silver like Crown, the tracks are all the same and identical order. They credit themselves on the bottom of the label.
The stereo issue Was a later release and was released in 1963, somewhat after the hits. It has a new cover, and this time it shows a great classic picture of Rosie and Betty Collins. The numbering on the stereo release is 373, and the back cover is the standard faire with the advertisements for other Crown LP's.
Here is a view of the stereo labels. These are one of a fewl styles of Crown LP labels. Not much frill, and a two color scheme which saved money for the budget label.
The LP from 1963 had ten songs on it. Again, these were mostly from the RPM sessions. This time, "Let's Kiss" and "Riding" show up as non 45 RPM cuts. This is the Mono version.
The labels are almost identical to the stereo version, except they replace the word "Stereo" with "Hi-Fi. Also, the mono LP release number adds a 5 to the front, and makes it 5373.
Updates: The Teen Queens recorded some very good records, and some that were not. Their biggest hit, "Eddie My Love" was what carried their career. It seems their biggest popularity was on the east coast, which made it hard to get work on the west coast, especially when the hits stopped coming. Was "Eddie" just an anomaly? Maybe. But the Teen Queens had every opportunity to follow up and could not. Fortunately, we were left with a bunch of great music, despite the lack of success and the personal tragedy of the sisters. Gone Missing: Possibly a release on RPM 480 called "My First Love", but I have never seen a copy, One Kent label record of "Eddie My Love", #14, which was a further reissue.
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