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The Chordettes

The Chordettes
The Chordettes (clockwise: Carol Buschmann, Dorothy "Dottie" Schwartz, Jinny Osborn, and Janet Ertel)
The Chordettes
(clockwise: Carol Buschmann, Dorothy "Dottie" Schwartz, Jinny Osborn, and Janet Ertel)
Background information
OriginSheboygan, Wisconsin, U.S.
Years active1946–1963
Past membersJinny Lockard (previously Osborn)
Carol Buschmann
Lynn Evans
Janet Ertel (aka Bleyer)
Margie Latzko
Dorothy “Dottie” (Hummitzsch) Schwartz
Nancy Overton
Alice Mae Spielvogel (previously Buschmann)
Joyce Weston
The Chordettes (Amsterdam, 1959)

The Chordettes were an American female vocal quartet, specializing in traditional pop music. They are best known for their 1950s hit songs "Mr. Sandman" and "Lollipop".


The group organized in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in 1946. The original members of the group were Janet Ertel (née Buschmann; September 21, 1913 – November 22, 1988), Alice Mae Buschmann Spielvogel, Dorothy "Dottie" (Hummitzsch) Schwartz, and Jinny Osborn/Lockard (April 25, 1927 – May 19, 2003). Alice Spielvogel was replaced by Carol Buschmann, her sister-in-law, in 1947. In 1952, Lynn Evans (née Hargate; May 2, 1924 – February 6, 2020) replaced Schwartz, as Evans described in a 2015 interview. And in 1953, Margie Needham replaced Osborn (who was having a baby), though Osborn later returned to the group. Nancy Overton joined the group for live performances in 1957 after Janet Ertel, who was more than a decade older than the other members of the group, decided to retire from touring, although Ertel continued to perform on recorded material. Originally they sang folk music in the style of The Weavers, but eventually changed to a harmonizing style of the type known as barbershop harmony or close harmony. Part of this change seems to be influenced by Osborn's father.[citation needed]

Jinny Osborn was born in Seattle, Washington. She was born Virginia Cole, the daughter of O. H. "King" Cole, who was president (1948-1949) of the Barbershop Harmony Society (then known as SPEBSQSA), and Katherine Flack.

After performing locally in Sheboygan, they won on Arthur Godfrey's radio program Talent Scouts in 1949. They held feature status on Godfrey's daily program, and in 1950 cut their first LP, a collection of standards titled Harmony Time for Columbia Records. Three more LPs followed.

In 1953, Godfrey's music director and orchestra leader, Archie Bleyer, founded Cadence Records.[citation needed] He signed a number of Godfrey regulars and former regulars, including the Chordettes, who had a number of hit records for Cadence.[citation needed]

Beginning in January 1954, the group sang on the Robert Q. Lewis Show, a weekday afternoon program on CBS-TV.

The Chordettes had released a couple of singles with Arthur Godfrey on Columbia in 1950-51 but didn't cut a solo single until their breakout hit Mr. Sandman, released in late 1954 and which went on to become a #1 1955 hit. Archie Bleyer himself is on that record along with the group; Bleyer stripped down the sound to highlight the girls' voices. They also hit #2 with 1958's "Lollipop" and also charted with a vocal version of the themes from Disney's Zorro (U.S. #17) (1958) and the film Never on Sunday (U.S. #13) (1961). Other hits for the group included "Eddie My Love" (U.S. #14) (a cover of a song by doo-wop group The Teen Queens), "Born to Be With You" (U.S. #5), "Lay Down Your Arms" in 1956, and "Just Between You and Me" (U.S. #8) in 1957. Their cover of "The White Rose Of Athens" hit the Australian Top 15 in May, 1962. The US single "In The Deep Blue Sea" was a one-week Music Vendor entry four months later (#128).

Janet Ertel married Bleyer in 1954. Her daughter Jackie married another Cadence recording star, Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers.

The Chordettes appeared on American Bandstand on August 5, 1957, the first episode of that show to be broadcast nationally on the ABC Television Network. The Chordettes also appeared on American Bandstand on February 22, 1958, and again on April 26, 1958.[citation needed]

In 1961, Jinny Osborn again left the group. Unable to find a satisfactory replacement, the group disbanded in 1963.[citation needed]

Recent events

The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.[citation needed]

The longest living member of the Chordettes who has sung on all the group's recordings, on both Columbia and Cadence recordings, is Carol Buschmann.[citation needed] Lynn Evans Mand sang on all the Chordettes' Cadence Recordings. In 2004, Mand appeared on a PBS television special Magic Moments: The Best of 50s Pop, with other 1950s pop icons, singing "Lollipop". Margie Needham Latzko and Carol Buschmann are the only surviving singers who recorded both "Mr. Sandman" and “Lollipop”.[citation needed]


Alice Mae Buschmann Spielvogel died in 1981 and is buried at Little Rock National Cemetery.

Janet Ertel Bleyer died on November 22, 1988, at the age of 75.

Jinny Osborn (later known as Jinny Janis) died in 2003.

Nancy Overton died on April 5, 2009, after a long battle with esophageal cancer.

Dorothy "Dottie" (Hummitzsch) Schwartz died on April 4, 2016.

Lynn Evans Mand died on February 6, 2020, at the age of 95.



Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart positions Album
1950 "Down By The Old Mill Stream" (with Arthur Godfrey) Non-album tracks
1950 "If It Wasn't For Your Father" (with Arthur Godfrey)
b/w "Gone Fishin'" (Non-album track)
1950 "Time Out For Tears" (with Bill Lawrence)
b/w "Can't Seem To Laugh Anymore" (Non-album track)
1950 "Hawaii" (with Arthur Godfrey)
b/w "Driftin' Down The Dreamy Ol' Ohio" (Non-album track)
1951 "Candy & Cake" (with Arthur Godfrey)
1954 "Mr. Sandman"
b/w "I Don't Wanna See You Cryin'" (Non-album track)
1 11 The Chordettes
1955 "Lonely Lips"
b/w "The Dudelsack Song" (Non-album track)
All the Very Best of the Chordettes
"Humming Bird"
b/w "I Told a Lie" (Non-album track)
The Chordettes
1956 "The Wedding"
b/w "I Don't Know, I Don't Care" (Non-album track)
91 All the Very Best of the Chordettes
"Eddie My Love"
b/w "Whistlin' Willie" (Non-album track)
14 The Chordettes
"Born to Be with You"
b/w "Love Never Changes"
5 8
"Lay Down Your Arms" / 16
"Teen Age Goodnight" 45
1957 "Come Home to My Arms"
b/w "(Fifi's) Walkin' the Poodle" (Non-album track)
"Echo of Love"
b/w "Like a Baby" (from The Chordettes)
Non-album track
"Just Between You and Me" / 8 The Chordettes
"Soft Sands" 73
"Baby of Mine"
b/w "Photographs"
Non-album tracks
1958 "Lollipop"
b/w "Baby, Come-a Back-a" (Non-album track)
2 3 6 All the Very Best of the Chordettes
b/w "Love Is a Two-Way Street" (Non-album track)
1959 "No Other Arms, No Other Lips" [Cadence 1361]
b/w "We Should Be Together" (Non-album track)
"A Girl's Work Is Never Done" [Cadence 1366]
b/w "No Wheels" (Non-album track)
1960 "A Broken Vow"
b/w "All My Sorrows"
Non-album tracks
1961 "Never on Sunday" / 13 4 Never on Sunday
"Faraway Star" 90 All the Very Best of the Chordettes
"The Exodus Song"
b/w "Theme from 'Goodbye Again'"
Never on Sunday
1962 "The White Rose of Athens"
b/w "Adios"
Non-album tracks
"In the Deep Blue Sea"
b/w "All My Sorrows"
1963 "True Love Goes On and On"
b/w "All My Sorrows"


  • Harmony Time (1950)
  • Harmony Time Volume II (1951)
  • Harmony Encores (1952)
  • The Chordettes Sing Your Requests (1953)
  • The Chordettes (1955)
  • Listen (1955)
  • Close Harmony (1955)
  • The Chordettes (1957) CLP 3001
  • Drifting and Dreaming (1959)
  • Never On Sunday (1959)
  • Never On Sunday (1962)

See also

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