Saturday, September 21, 2013
The group, consisting of Wanda "Wendy" Sheriff, Dorothy "Sunny" Dyer, Pat "Punkin" Strunk, and Linda "Lin" Schroeder, started in Cincinnati in 1961. Dorothy, Pat and Linda all went to the same high school, and Dorothy and Linda soon formed a duo, singing in local parks and teen hangouts. One night, they went to a spot called The Tulu Club, a place sponsored by local radio station WSAI, and run by one of their DJ's, Ron Britton. As the band was playing onstage, Dorothy and Linda began singing along. The bandleader heard them and asked them to come up on stage to sing with them (today, the musician's union would put the kibosh on that). They were such a hit that they decided to form a group and get into the music business. They recruited Pat Strunk a short time later, and they worked as a trio for a little while, playing teen dance clubs in and around Cincinnati.
At one gig, the Teardrops were booked on the same bill as a band called The Matadors, whose guitarist, Bud Reneau, was co-owner of a small record label called Saxony Records. After the show, he called his partner, Paul Trefzger, to tell him about this great girl group he'd just played a gig with. Soon the trio was signed to Saxony, and shortly afterward they were joined by a fourth member - Wanda Sheriff. Wanda's hobby was hairdressing, and if you've ever seen pictures of The Teardrops (there are quite a number in John's book), the first thing you'll notice is the group's wild hairdos, with Wanda's being the wildest of all!
In early September of 1964, the Teardrops had their first session at the legendary King Records Studios, and the first single from the session was "Tonight I'm Gonna Fall In Love Again"/"That's Why I'll Get By". "Tonight....", with Linda Schroeder on lead, became a huge hit in Cinncy, and the group was on its way to the big time, touring all over Ohio and Kentucky while the DJs in Cincinnati wore out their needles on the Saxony 45.
But that's not the record I'm featuring here......their follow-up, in early 1965, is the pick for this blog post - "I'm Gonna Steal Your Boyfriend". Dorothy Dyer took the lead on this one, with one of the toughest, bitchiest vocals this side of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Starting with handclaps and an irresistible "doom-bop-a-dooji-bop, whoa-ho", the record roars in like an angry dad picking up his teenage daughter from a frat party. Basically, the singer is pissed off because she sees her best friend treating her man like dirt and decides, "screw her, he's gonna be mine" - and is proud of it! Again, the record got some airplay in the Cincinnati area, but the record didn't sell as well as its predecessor - possibly because Trefzger decided to change the label design from something accessible (a nice light blue label with a large stylized "S" at the top) to something dark, obscure, and just plain plain (see the pic above).
The group fared better with their third single, "Tears Come Tumbling", which was such a huge hit in the midwest (and Philadelphia and Boston) in late 1965, that Trefzger and Reneau leased the record to Musicor, who released it in early '66. Despite all the airplay, the record never charted on a national level. The group cut one more single for Musicor, "I Will Love You Dear Forever", which flopped completely (though Trefzger re-released it on his reactivated Saxony label in 1993). The group soldiered on for a while, playing the Cincinnati club circuit as members came and went, but decided to call it quits in 1969.
The Teardrops were probably one of the best "girl groups" you've never heard of (and of course the idiots at Rhino completely missed the boat by not including them on their girl groups box - SHAME on you, Sheryl Farber and Gary Stewart). But you can become very familiar with their material easily - Saxony Records is still doing business, and you can buy Teardrops CD's (and even original 45s!!) on their website.
A lot of the research (okay, ALL of the research) for the factoids presented in this blog post was done by my good buddy John Clemente, and you CANNOT call yourself a girl group enthusiast unless you have a copy of his book "Girl Groups: Fabulous Females Who Rocked The World". Even if you have the one from a few years ago, you need to buy this new edition. First of all, it's THREE TIMES as thick as the old book, has MANY more articles on many more artists, plus there's a TON of rare and cool pix crammed in there!! You can get it here. So buy the book. Now. I said NOW!!!
The Teardrops - I'm Gonna Steal Your Boyfriend (Saxony 1008) - 1965