The Caravelles were put together by a promoter with a knack for recognizing good singers and picked up a song from the B-side of a Tennessee Ernie Ford record that propelled them to the top ten in the USA and the UK.
Andrea Simpson (born in 1946 in Finchley, London) was a talented singer in the early 60's who wanted to sing professionally. So was Lois Wilkinson (born in 1944 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England). Independently of each other, they visited a small recording studio in Highbury, London headed by Curly Clayton, a man who was able to recognize talent. Despite later press reports that they had worked together in a London office, it was Clayton who decided to put them together and persuaded them to sing as a duet.
Taking the name Caravelles from a French airliner of the day, they recorded You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry on the Smash label, which had previously been recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford and appeared on the flip side of Ford's enormously popular number one single from 1955, Sixteen Tons. Written by Bob Merrill and Terry Shand, the song had been recorded by country and western singer/songwriter Moon Mullican as far back as 1950, for whom it had been a minor hit. The version by Simpson and Wilkinson had a different arrangement and had an upbeat pop sound to it that suited the popular music sound of the early 60's. In late 1963 the Caravelles' version of You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry became a top ten hit on both sides of the Atlantic, rising to number three in the USA and number six in the UK. Thus the Caravelles found themselves on the leading edge of the British Invasion era of pop music, and one of the genre's few girl groups as well. They were in demand.
The Caravelles recorded more songs, some of them country western, and some that had been recorded several years earlier by Patience and Prudence. Among their subsequent recordings were I Really Don't Want To Know, Have You Ever Been Lonely, and I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine. None came anywhere near the success of their sole top ten record You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry.
As the decade continued, Lois Wilkinson struck out on a solo career. She changed her name professionally to Lois Lane, taking the name from the fictitious girlfriend of the fictitious hero, Superman. Her style of music changed, getting into areas such as jazz. Andrea Simpson carried on as the Caravelles, working with a variety of partners, the most prominent of whom was Australian Lynne Hamilton. The last single issued by the Caravelles came on the Pye label in 1968, The Other Side of Love backed by I Hear a New Kind of Music.
The Caravelles kept performing into the 1980's. They are remembered today as a one-shot artist for their top ten hit from 1963, You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry.
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