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The Fleetwoods
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Vocalists
    (1958-1983)
    Born in Olympia, Washington
    Left to right: Gretchen Christopher, Gary Troxel, Barbara Ellis
    Doo-wop pop mixed trio
    Later members include Cheryl Huggins, Candy Johnson, and Bonnie Hannukaine
    Albums include ‘Mr. Blue,’ ‘The Fleetwoods,’ ‘Goodnight My Love,’ and ‘Before and After’
    Singles include ‘Come Softly to Me,’ ‘Graduation’s Here,’ ‘Mr. Blue,’ ‘Tragedy,’ ‘(He’s) The Great Imposter,’ ‘Lovers By Night, Strangers By Day,’ ‘Goodnight My Love,’ and ‘What’ll I Do’
    They cannot agree on whether they began as a female duo with Troxel as a late edition – then known as Two Girls and a Guy – where the Fleetwoods name came from, or even where they actually first met.
    Their vocal style managed to confound industry insiders and personnel and defy classification (eventually falling between classic rock and pure pop).
    When Troxel was drafted into the Navy, future solo artist Vic Dana would sub for him during live performances.
    Try as they might – and they did – the Navy stint also put a significant strain on their ability to record together.
    In time – not the least bit helped by the inevitable internal clash over musical direction – they were pushed into the background by the folk rock scene. And the British Invasion.
    What they are clear on is that they came together as high school seniors, with Christopher and Ellis actually dating back to grade school and having trouble finding a suitable third female member.
    ‘Come Softly to Me’ was the earliest single released on the Dolton label co-owned by Bonnie Guitar (who, like Dana, eventually co-authored some tracks with Troxel).
    Billboard Magazine – then in its infancy – credits them as the first group to have two #1 singles within a single year.
    Rare for an all-white act, they would also place in the Top Five in the R&B charts.
    Though Ellis had long since retired, Christopher and Troxel retained ownership of the name and would continue the occasional circuit performance.

Credit: Cool It All Right?


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