• The Fleetwoods

    The Fleetwoods (Washington)
    (By Hans-Joachim)

    Personnel :

    Gary Troxel

    Gretchen Christopher

    Barbara Ellis

    Discography :

    Singles :

    1959 - Come Softly To Me / I Care So Much (Dolton 1)
    1959 - Graduation's Here / Oh Lord, Let It Be (Dolton 3)
    1959 - Mr. Blue / You Mean Everything To Me (Dolton 5/607)
    1960 - Magic Star / Outside My Window (Dolton 15)
    1960 - Runaround / Truly Do (Dolton 22)

    (Dolton 22)

    1960 - The Last One To Know / Dormilona (Dolton 27)
    1960 - Confidential / I Love You So (Dolton 30)
    1961 - Tragedy / Little Miss Sad One (Dolton 40)
    1961 - (He's) The Great Imposter / Poor Little Girl (Dolton 45)
    1962 - Billy Old Buddy / Trouble (Dolton 49)
    1962 - They Tell Me It's Summer / Lovers By Night, Strangers By Day (Dolton 62)
    1963 - You Should Have Been There / Sure Is Lonesome Downtown (Dolton 74)
    1963 - Goodnight My Love / Jimmy Beware (Dolton 75)
    1963 - Baby Bye-O / What'll I Do (Dolton 86)
    1964 - Lonesome Town / Ruby Red Baby Blue (Dolton 93)
    1964 - Ten Times Blue / Ska Light Ska Bright (Dolton 97)
    1964 - Mr. Sandman / This Is My Prayer (Dolton 98)
    1964 - Before And After (Losing You) / Lonely Is As Lonely Does (Dolton 302)
    1965 - Come Softly To Me / I'm Not Jimmy (Dolton 307)
    1965 - Rainbow / Just As I Need You (Dolton 310)
    1965 - For Lovin' Me / This Is Where I See Her (Dolton 315)
    1967 - Dormilona / The Last One To Know (Dolton 653)

    Extended Play :

    1960 - Runaround / Mr. Blue / Outside My Window / Come Softly To Me (Dolton EP 502)

    (Dolton EP 502)

    Albums :

    1959 - Confidential / The Three Caballeros / Raindrops Teardrops / You Mean Everything To Me / Oh Lord Let It Be / Come Softly To Me / Serenade Of The Bells / Unchained Melody / We Belong Together / Come Go With Me / I Care So Much / Mr. Blue (Dolton LP 8001)

    (Dolton LP 8001)

    1960 - Bye Bye Blackbird / Truly Do / Skylark / My Sister's Love / Runaround / Happy Happy Birthday Baby / I Believe /One For My Baby / Once In A While / Turtle Dove / Time Of Love / Outside My Window (Dolton LP 8002)

    1961 - The Little White Cloud That Cried / Tragedy / Dormilona / I'm So Alone / Days Dwindle By / Nancy / Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring / Little Miss Sad One / I Love You So / Love Drop / The Last One To Know / Love Alone (Dplton LP 8005)

    1961 - Blue / Poor Little Girl / Daddy's Home / A Teenager In Love / Paradise Lost / Hey Little Tear / Little Girl Blue / Great Impostor / Lah-Dee-Dah / Blues Go Away / Lonely Cup Of Coffee / One Little Star (Dolton LP 8007)

    1962 - Over The Mountain Across The Sea / A Thousand Miles Away / Poor Little Fool / Tears On My Pillow / In The Still Of The Nite / To Know Him Is To Love Him / Eddie My Love / Earth Angel / Venus / Happy Happy Birthday Baby / Donna / Bazoom (I Need Your Lovin') (Dolton LP 8011)

    1962 - Mr. Blue / You Mean Everything To Me / Outside My Window / Confidential / Truly Do / Tragedy / Come Softly To Me (45 version) / (He's) The Great Impostor / The Last One To Know / Poor Little Girl / Graduation's Here / Runaround (Dolton LP 8018)

    (Dolton LP 8018)

    1962 - Loving You / My Special Lover / Bon Soir Dame / Goodnight My Love / Lovers' Lullaby / If You Were The Only Girl In The World / Pledging My Love / The Twelfth Of Never / I Look At You / Lovers By Night Strangers By Day / Soft Eyes / Let It Be Me (Dolton LP 8020)

    1963 - Jimmy San / End Of The World / Sure Is Lonesome Downtown / Magic Star / I Just Can't Live Without You / Every Little Beat / Sad Little Girl / So Much In Love / It's Your Birthday / Figurines / Jimmy Beware / Hurt Him (Dolton LP 8025)

    1964 - Softly As I Leave You / Mr. Sandman / Go Away / Little Things / Almost There / Since I Don't Have You / This Is My Prayer / Footsteps / Lonely Is As Lonely Does / What Am I Gonna Do / I'll Be There / Before And After (Dolton LP 8030)

    1965 - A Lover's Concerto / All I Really Want To Do / You Can't Grow Peaches On A Cherry Tree / It Ain't Me Babe / Walk Don't Run / For Lovin' Me / You've Got Your Troubles / Not The Lovin' Kind / You Were On My Mind / We'll Sing In The Sunshine / Baby Don't Go / This Is Where I See Her (Dolton LP 8039)

    1966 - The Last One To Know / Love Alone / Little Miss Sad One / Days Dwindle By / Hurt Him / Figurines / Jimmy Beware / Dormilona / I Just Can't Live Without You / Love Drop (Sunset LP 5131)

    1974 - Come Softly To Me / (He's) The Great Impostor / Graduation's Here / We Belong Together / Mr. Blue / Tragedy / Run Around / Goodnight My Love / Confidential / Outside My Window (United Artists LP LA 334-E)

    1983 - Who’s Gonna Teach You About Love / My Love, My Love / Get Behind Me Devil / Ask Him If He’s Got a Friend For Me / Will You Love Me Tomorrow / Man In A Raincoat / Let Her Go / Imagination / Surfer’s Playmate / Climb Ev’ry Mountain (Liberty LP


    Although the Fleetwoods' sound was smooth, without many of the rougher edges of doo wop groups, they were one of the few white vocal groups of the late '50s and early '60s to enjoy success not only on the pop charts, but also the R&B charts.

    The Fleetwoods' forte was ballads - beginning with their 1959 debut single, "Come Softly to Me," the group racked up a number of hits over the next three years, and nearly all of them were ballads. The group broke up in 1963, but their songs - particularly "Come Softly to Me" - became pop-rock classics of the pre-British Invasion era.

    Gretchen Christopher, Barbara Ellis, and Gary Troxell formed the Fleetwoods while attending high school in Olympia, WA. Originally, the group consisted only of Christopher and Ellis, but the duo soon asked Troxell to accompany them on trumpet. Shortly after his arrival in the group, Troxell abandoned the trumpet and concentrated on singing once the other two members heard a portion of a song he had written. Following some contributions from Christopher and Ellis, the group had written "Come Softly to Me."

    with Dick Clark

    They began performing the song at various events around Olympia, eventually gaining the attention of Bob Reisdorff, who ran the Seattle-based label, Dolphin Records.

    Dolphin released "Come Softly to Me" early in 1959 and the song became an instant hit, climbing to number one on the pop charts and number five on the R&B charts; it also reached the Top Ten in U.K. The Fleetwoods weren't able to immediately produce a follow-up single as successful as their debut, but their third single, "Mr. Blue," was a number one pop and Top Five R&B hit in the U.S. in late 1959.


    By the time of its release, Dolphin had changed its name to Dolton. For the next three years, the Fleetwoods had a string of minor pop hits. The group wasn't able to consistently place singles in the upper regions of the charts partially because Troxell was drafted into the navy at the height of the group's popularity at the end of 1959. Troxell was replaced by Vic Dana, who would later have a string of his own hit singles in the early '60s.
    The Fleetwoods last Top Ten single arrived in the spring of 1961, when "Tragedy" climbed the U.S. charts. The group disbanded two years later, after releasing their final single, a cover of Jesse Belvin's "Goodnight My Love." Over the next three decades, the Fleetwoods reunited occasionally to perform concerts and oldies revues. In 1973, the group recorded an album with producer Jerry Dennon, but the resulting recordings were unsuccessful. In 1990, the Fleetwoods - featuring Christopher, Troxell, and instead of Ellis a singer called Cheryl Huggins - played a tour on the American oldies circuit after Rhino released the compact disc collection, The Best of the Fleetwoods.

    Steven Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


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  • Comments

    Helaine Berman
    Friday 20th September 2019 at 15:39

    Your website is amazing! So much good music and history about doowop artists! I could spend time on this fir days. Thanks for taking the time to put this all together!

    Steve Wayne
    Thursday 4th February 2021 at 01:24

    I too love this site.  Thank you

    Steve Wayne
    Thursday 4th February 2021 at 01:26

    I love this site too.  It  is amazing that you have all this info i n one place


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