The Crystals were one of the most successful girl groups of the 1960s. Barbara Alston, Mary Thomas, Dee Dee Kennibrew, Myrna Gerrard and Patricia Wright formed the band in high school under the leadership of Alston's uncle, Benny Wells. Before recording, the Crystals replaced Gerrard with La La Brooks.
Their first hit was 1961's "There's No Other Like My Baby" (see 1961 in music). The following singles, such as "Uptown" and "Oh, Yeah, Maybe, Baby" were topical and socially-aware about growing up in the ghetto. The next single was 1962's "He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)", a dark and strange affair for the period, still widely remembered though only rarely played on the radio due to the touchy subject matter of spousal abuse. Sales were sluggish. Soon after, Phil Spector was recording a singer named Darlene Love under the name "the Crystals". Her single, "He's a Rebel", is perhaps the Crystals' most well-remembered and beloved songs, and one of the most enduring of the girl group genre. After another Love song, "He's Sure the Boy I Love", the Crystals began recording again under the name, with "Da Doo Ron Ron", a hit in Britain and the US, as was the follow-up, "Then He Kissed Me".
Tension between Spector and the Crystals mounted as Darlene Love recorded more songs under their name. In 1964, Spector began focusing his tme on The Ronettes. A series of failed singles followed, and the Crystals disbanded in 1966 (see 1966 in music). They reunited in 1971 (see 1971 in music) and toured widely in varying incarnations.