R&B vocal group the Hearts -- high schoolers Louise Harris, Joyce West, Hazel Crutchfield and Forestine Barnes -- was originally assembled by Bronx, NY-based Zell Sanders, an aspiring composer who recruited the girls to rehearse her songs. Accompanied by Sanders' neighbor Rex Garvin on piano, the Hearts cut the single "Lonely Nights" for the tiny Baton label, scoring one of the earliest girl group hits when the record reached the R&B Top Ten in 1955. It looked like the group might never be heard from again when in 1963 the Hearts returned to the charts with "Dear Abby"; none of the original members remained, however -- by now Sanders ran her own label, J&S Records, for which the same five vocalists (Johnnie Louise Richardson, Ethel Davis, Mary Sue Wells, Yvonne Bushnell, and Ada Ray) recorded under a variety of aliases including not only the Hearts but also the Poppies, the Z-Debs and, most famously, the Jaynetts, to whom the 1963 classic "Sally Go 'Round the Roses" was credited. Rex Garvin, meanwhile, later cut a series of underground soul classics backed by his group the Mighty Cravers.
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