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Tonight's the Night

The Shirelles

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Album Review

The Shirelles' first album was, in common with many debuts by hitmakers of the early 1960s, utterly dominated by the hit singles included on the LP. On Tonight's the Night, these included not only the title track, but also "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," "Dedicated to the One I Love," and an honorary hit in "Boys," the B-side of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" (and made into a standard in its own right via a cover by the Beatles). These tracks are excellent, and appear on virtually any comprehensive Shirelles best-of. The other cuts are filler by comparison, though still pleasant for the period pop-soul-early girl group production if nothing else. Of those other songs, Luther Dixon's smoldering "Fever"-like "You Don't Want My Love" stands out, while "Unlucky" is notable for later appearing on Dionne Warwick's debut album. For the most part, even more so than some other Shirelles' long-players, the LP evokes a bygone era when innocuous young love and its accompanying hurts were the centers of many teenagers' universes, fretted over with the detailed seriousness of international diplomacy.

Biography

Formed: 1958 in Passaic, NJ

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

The Shirelles were the first major female vocal group of the rock era, defining the so-called girl group sound with their soft, sweet harmonies and yearning innocence. Their music was a blend of pop/rock and R&B — especially doo wop and smooth uptown soul — that appealed to listeners across the board, before Motown ever became a crossover phenomenon with white audiences. Even if the Shirelles were not technically the first of their kind, their success was unprecedented, paving the...
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