The Versalettes

Biography by

The Versalettes were an exciting Chicago female group of the mid-'60s whose records never amounted to anything. Forming at Marshall High School in 1961, Theresa Legg, Kathleen Spates, Vera Rugolis, and…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

The Versalettes were an exciting Chicago female group of the mid-'60s whose records never amounted to anything. Forming at Marshall High School in 1961, Theresa Legg, Kathleen Spates, Vera Rugolis, and Viola Floyd built a reputation doing talent shows and community functions. Personnel at Cortland/Witch Records caught wind of the Versalettes' buzz and signed them in 1963, while they were still in high school. Donald Jenkins worked with them and imprinted his doo wop sound on their recordings, which, supposedly, they hated.

At the urging of their manager, Bobby Mason, they added Helen Greenfield before cutting their first single, "Shining Armor" b/w "True Love Is a Treasure," in 1963 on Bill Erman's Witch label; the Blenders ("Daughter") recorded the B-side a year earlier. Disc jockeys Lucky Cordell and Herb Kent gave it perfunctory hometown spins; for this favor, the Versalettes did free record hops for them. Around this same time, Erman released "The Fisherman" b/w "Nobody but You" on his Cortland imprint and credited it to the Trinkets, who were really the Versalettes. Again, sales were virtually nonexistent.

A third single, "Don Juan in Town," a dated doo wop, floundered as well; the Witch recordings never captured the group's essence. The song was an answer to "Don Juan," which was recorded by Donald Jenkins and Ronnie Strong as the Starr Brothers. Cortland also issued the song by the Ideals on the B-side of "Gorilla." Jenkins (Delighters) got them ready to record, but Bob Catron, the A&R man, got the production credits. Cortland/Witch stopped making records in 1964, and the original Versalettes took the opportunity to axe Greenfield, whom they considered a wayward outsider anyway. After graduating from high school in 1965, they continued the community gigs but didn't record again for awhile.

A final single surfaced in 1968 on Okeh Records. The nondescript sides "So Glad Your Love Don't Change" b/w "Love Made to Order" didn't have a chance. The group never even knew Okeh released the single until the '90s because nobody bothered to tell them; Okeh credited it to the Little Foxes. Bill Erman is reclusive about his Cortland/Witch recordings, which is why they aren't found compiled on any albums, cassettes, or discs.