The Chantels

Not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Eligible since: 1983 (The 1984 Induction Ceremony)

Nominated in: 2002   2010   

Previously Considered? Yes  what's this?

Essential Songs (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3YouTube
Maybe (1957)

The Chantels @ Wikipedia

The Chantels Videos

Will The Chantels be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?
"Musical excellence is the essential qualification for induction."


22 comments so far (post your own)

Who? I thought this was the same group that did "Dirty Water" back in 1966, then I find out that this is a girl group that I never heard of. I guess this is WAY before my time......

Posted by qoz on Thursday, 01.17.08 @ 14:19pm

I love the Chantels! They belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! The Chantels are one of my favorite singing groups from the 50's, infact all the 50's singing groups should be in the R&R Hall of Fame...they all brought music where it is today!

Posted by Maureen on Tuesday, 06.3.08 @ 15:31pm

If not the Chantels...then who? No wonder Tom Jones has been ignored.

Posted by Anita on Saturday, 06.7.08 @ 08:48am

I'd probably say yes to them. "Look In My Eyes" is an absolutely beautiful song. Give 'em some props.

Posted by Philip on Sunday, 03.22.09 @ 14:40pm

The Chantels were the first black female crossover group. They were before the Supremes and everyone else. All girls groups owe the Chantels a debt of gratitude. They lead the way in class, grace and distinction. If any group deserves to be there it is the Chantels. They were the true dream girls.

Posted by ray wilson on Friday, 04.3.09 @ 05:22am

Let's dispel a myth, and then we'll talk about the reality. The Chantels were not the first all-female vocal harmony group to hit the charts. Of the ones I know about, the Cookies, who later became Ray Charles' backing vocal group, had a #9 R&B hit in 1956 with "In Paradise". Then the Bobbettes not only topped the R&B chart with "Mr. Lee" in 1957, but they also reached #6 on the pop chart as well. There are probably others, too.

However, the Chantels are credited as the prototypes of all the girl groups to follow; the Shirelles, all the Motown acts, and all the Phil Spector acts, all of them looked back to the Chantels.

This is largely because of their hit song "Maybe", which reached #2 on the R&B chart and #15 on the pop chart in 1958. They had two other hits before that; "He's Gone" in 1957 (#71 pop) and "Every Night (I Pray)" in 1958 (#16 R&B, #39 pop). But none of those had the far reach of "Maybe", being covered by the Shangri-Las, Janis Joplin, Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown in a duet and the Three Degrees. All of those hits were written by lead vocalist Arlene Smith, although their producer and manager Richard Barrett took the credit.

The Chantels went on to record many more songs and even have a few other hits, both with Arlene Smith and without, and sometimes with Richard Barrett even. Arlene Smith pursued a solo career, although she briefly toured with a new set of Chantels 1973 to 1980. Sonia Goring, Rene Minus and Jackie Landry continued with various other fourth members until 1996, when Lois Harris rejoined the group. Landry died in 1997. Ami Ortiz has been singing with the group since 1996. Arlene Smith rejoind with Goring, Minus and Harris for the popular Doo Wop 50 concert sponsored by PBS at the Benedum Center For Performing Arts in Pittsburgh on 11-12 Mar 1999.

In short, they may not have been first, but they were definitely pioneers as well as the ones who established and popularized the form all the others used from that point on. Yes, they deserved their nomination, and yes, they deserve induction.

Posted by Charles Crossley Jr on Sunday, 04.26.09 @ 09:49am

Corrections to the above:
The Chantels' "Every Night (I Pray)" hit the top 40 3 months after "Maybe".

Although Arlene Smith return to touring as a solo act in 1980, she would also do occasional shows with her version of the Chantels, and has been doing so at least up through 2007 according to the tour dates I could find on the Internet.

Posted by Charles Crossley Jr on Monday, 04.27.09 @ 07:29am


There may have been hits by female R&B vocal groups before them, but the Chantels were the first to achieve a consistent run of chart records, thus paving the way for The Shirelles, The Crystals, The Supremes and all the other “girl” groups that followed. Named for a rival Bronx, N.Y. high school, St. Francis de Chantelle, they were discovered by writer-producer and Valentines’ lead singer Richard Barrett who brought them to George Goldner’s End Records in 1957. The Chantels’ distinctive, choir-like sound, with its classical and gospel overtones, featured the soaring lead of Arlene Smith, who also wrote much of the group’s material including its signature song “Maybe,” which has been covered many times over the years, most notably by Janis Joplin.

Posted by Roy on Wednesday, 09.23.09 @ 11:13am

Arlene Smith did not write Maybe. That song was written by Richard Barrett who is still collecting royalties for the writing of the song. Check with BMI for the truth.

Posted by Matthew on Wednesday, 09.23.09 @ 22:35pm

The Chantels

Sonia Goring
Lois Harris
Jackie Landry
Rene Minus
Arlene Smith

Posted by Roy on Monday, 09.28.09 @ 04:26am

The Chantels

Another group that was nominated already without the stronger credentials of those left out from the same era and/or style, which would seem to suggest that again the committee's personal views are the primary consideration for being added to the ballot. It's not as if the Chantels aren't notable however, as they were the first true "girl group" in rock, bringing the vocal style and subject matter that would help define the early 60's to the table when they released their immortal hit "Maybe" in 1958. The problem is that song was the extent of their historical legacy. Lead singer Arlene Smith soon left the group and while they scored a few other smaller hits, their impact was alarmingly brief and their influence was absorbed and then built upon by The Shirelles who took the style into its most recognizable form. Widespread accusations that the committee attempts to have one 50's era act per year to ensure interest from that fan constituency appear to have credibility when such acts as the Chantels are routinely included. They aren't totally undeserving of consideration by any means, but far more qualified artists from that era are waiting who've yet to even be nominated, Larry Williams, Shirley & Lee and The Clovers, among them, along with the previously rejected Chuck Willis, The "5" Royales, The Dominoes and Johnny Ace. The choice of The Chantels yet again as opposed to these and other deserving artists is one more piece of evidence that the Hall Of Fame selection process is in dire need of overhaul when it comes to properly crediting rock's first full decade.

Qualifications: 5 - Worth Examining, But Will Often Fall Short

Posted by Roy on Friday, 10.2.09 @ 14:50pm

Chantels deserve to be inducted, because they were and still are a phenominal women group today, who paved the way for groups like the Supreme, and really I thought they were already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (That is a shame!)

Posted by Cassandra Dunham on Monday, 10.19.09 @ 16:11pm

When you can still remember a song from your teenage years, the words,the group that sang it and the memories attached to it after over 50yrs. Yes, Yes, Yes The Chantels "Eternally" recording was my love song. What has taken soooo long for the induction into the Hall of Fame.


Posted by Jacqueline on Saturday, 10.31.09 @ 12:20pm

Great Group still performing with most of the
original members. Very Classy group. The
Chantels sound as good as they did nearly
fifty years ago! Amazing! They still perform in the United States and internationally! They deserve this award.

Posted by Cathy on Monday, 11.16.09 @ 17:31pm

The Chantels definitely deserve to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were the trailblazers for the 'girl groups', and set the standard for the groups to follow.

Posted by Kathy Wiz on Monday, 11.16.09 @ 20:38pm

The Chantels deserve induction. Period.
They deserve their place in music history as pioneers for girl groups the world over.
Give them their due--- INDUCT the Chantels!!!
Mary Diane

Posted by MD Hausman on Tuesday, 11.17.09 @ 11:02am

The Chantels deserve induction. Period.
They deserve their place in music history as pioneers for girl groups the world over.
Give them their due--- INDUCT the Chantels!!!
Mary Diane

Posted by MD Hausman on Tuesday, 11.17.09 @ 11:02am

I hope they get IN

Posted by mrxyz on Tuesday, 11.17.09 @ 14:44pm

The Chantels were the only source of music for a great party in my high school days! They were the tops for the Cicano population in Tucson Az. during the sixties! Of course they should be inducted!!!

Posted by Arlene Cardenas on Friday, 02.12.10 @ 21:01pm

The Chantels were the only source of music for a great party in my high school days! They were the tops for the Chicano population in Tucson Az. during the sixties! Of course they should be inducted!!!

Posted by Arlene Cardenas on Friday, 02.12.10 @ 21:02pm

The Chantels should have been in the Hall of Fame years ago. ... Arlene Smith, from the first note she sings on Maybe, and Ms. Goring, Minor and Harris' backup vocals, make the Chantels an obvious choice. Maybe? Certainly !

Posted by Richard on Monday, 10.11.10 @ 10:05am

i rock a lot more than you

Posted by the reyna on Thursday, 03.24.11 @ 11:59am

Not important enough if you compare them to other acts of the late 50s.

Posted by Robert on Tuesday, 11.15.11 @ 10:03am

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