|Me & La La Brooks of the original Crystals|
My friend Ron Giles and I went inside and were seated at one of the comfy booths at the back of the room. Matt Beckoff was a wonderful host to Ms Brooks (original lead singer of Phil Spector's The Crystals), Barbara Harris (of The Toys) and Margaret Ross Williams (lead singer of The Cookies). All were native New Yorkers. The Chantels' Arlene Smith was to be part of this but had to cancel over purported safety issues. Ms Smith uses a motorized wheelchair and thunderstorms were predicted (though failed to develop, gratefully, until much, much later) that could possibly spell danger. May-aybe.
|with Barbara Harris and Margaret Ross Williams|
Influences for this trio? Frankie Lyman and Brenda Lee were cited. Gospel music was a huge part of these women's early foundations and singing. Of course, the backstage stories were especially fabulous. The ladies talked about Phil Spector, Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Sam Cooke, Dick Clark, Little Eva, the Mob, Tony Orlando, Eydie Gorme among others.
|Am I a pygmy? Is Matt a giant?|
But La La really brought down the house when she gossiped about being on tour with Diana Ross (then of the Supremes) and how Miss Ross' diva attitude and prissiness pissed the young singer of The Crystals off. She also mentioned how today's divas, like Beyonce and Rihanna, don't know what girls in the Sixties went through, paving the way. "If it weren't for us, there wouldn't be them."
Matt, thank you so much for getting these ladies to talk. Brilliant work! We all loved hearing these amazing backstage stories. When the three women sang "Da Doo Ron Ron" at finale, it brought down the house. Can the Metropolitan Room take any more authentic girl-group power? We shall see.