Chapel of Love: The Story of New Orleans Girl Group the Dixie Cups

Univ. Pr. of Mississippi. May 2021. 192p. ISBN 9781496829566. $25. MUSIC
With the release of their 1964 hit “Chapel of Love,” the Dixie Cups became one of the most successful girl groups. Music journalist Bergsman chronicles the group’s story, as told to him by Hawkins who, along with her sister Barbara Ann Hawkins and their cousin Joan Marie Johnson, founded the vocal trio. The Dixie Cups left New Orleans to live and record in New York, performed in Vietnam for American servicemen, toured with Dick Clark, played with the Rolling Stones, and stayed at the flat of Animals lead singer Eric Burdon when they were stranded in London. Bergsman and Hawkins candidly detail the Dixie Cups’ triumphs as well as the exploitation they endured; they write that the group’s manager, Joe Jones, stole from them and raped Rosa Hawkins on multiple occasions.
VERDICT Because the book consists of a series of stories that Hawkins recounted to Bergsman, sometimes the timeline becomes unclear, and it is up to readers to piece together when certain events took place. Still, this is a compelling work that will interest music fans, especially those who don’t know the Dixie Cups’ story.
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