The Dixie Cups

Home | Biography | Concerts | Gallery | Videos | Merchandise | Links

Biography

The Dixie Cups

The Dixie Cups originally consisted of sisters Barbara and Rosa Hawkins with their cousin, Joan Johnson.  They were pursuing a singing career in their native New Orleans under the name The Meltones.  Singer/entertainer Joe Jones ("You Talk Too Much"), who discovered the girls at a talent show, brought the trio to songwriter-producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller at New York's Brill Building.  Leiber and Stoller, liking what they heard, decided to sign the girls to a recording contract - and, with the decision having been made to start a new label to launch the new group, Red Bird Records was born.  The powerhouse songwriting team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who'd been working with Leiber and Stoller, joined Red Bird as composers/producers.
 
"Chapel of Love," written by Barry and Greenwich with Phil Spector, had previously been recorded by The Ronettes and The Crystals, but neither version was released as a single.  The girls recorded "Chapel of Love" under their new name, The Dixie Cups (another name that had been briefly considered for the trio was Little Miss and The Muffets; the moniker decided upon was a nod to the girls' New Orleans roots).  Red Bird partner George Goldner heard The Dixie Cups' master of "Chapel of Love" and declared it to be a sure-fire hit, so after augmenting the track with a Dixie-flavored brass section, Leiber and Stoller released "Chapel" which ascended swiftly to #1 in the spring of 1964, knocking The Beatles' "Love Me Do" out of the top spot and earning the girls their first gold record.  Thus The Dixie Cups were the first American group to "take back" the U.S. Cash Box and Billboard charts from the British Invasion.
 
 The Dixie Cups' next release, "People Say," garnered a second gold record for the group.  Other hits would follow, like "You Should Have Seen the Way He Looked At Me," "Little Bell," and the delightful chant "Iko Iko," which along with "Chapel of Love" has become the group's signature tune.
 
In 1965, The Dixie Cups' manager tried moving the group to another label, ABC-Paramount.  Within a year or two stress from traveling led Joan Johnson to retire from the group.  Barbara and Rosa brought in another alto and continued to tour and entertain.  However, legal problems caused by The Dixie Cups' migration to the new label were enough to stall the trio's career and cause their records to be dropped from the charts.  Despite having a couple of Top Forty hits, the group was unable to recapture the success they'd enjoyed at Red Bird and their recording career came to a halt.
 
The Hawkins sisters returned to New Orleans in the late 60's, a decision fueled by manager problems.  Rosa Hawkins found work as a model and also taught modeling at the Barbizon and John Casablanca Schools.  In addition, she worked as a makeup artist for Fashion Fair Cosmetics and for Revlon.  Rosa taught Barbara the makeup business, and Barbara too became a makeup artist, working for these same companies.  They also continued to perform around the world.  During the 80's and 90's, thanks largely to renewed interest in the songs they'd recorded for Red Bird, The Dixie Cups enjoyed a resurgence of popularity.  In 2002, The Dixie Cups were Rhythm & Blues Foundation nominees; then, in 2003, the Foundation honored The Dixie Cups with their Pioneer Award.  And, in 2007, The Dixie Cups were inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
 
Today, The Dixie Cups continue to perform on the concert circuit, thrilling audiences with their pristine harmonies.  Current members of the trio are Rosa and Barbara along with their sister from their Neville Brothers family, Athelgra Neville.
 
 
 

This web site is a tribute to a trio of lovely, talented, and gracious ladies, The Dixie CupsThe Dixie Cups are comprised of  sisters Rosa and Barbara Hawkins from the original lineup, and the newest Dixie chick, Athelgra Neville, whom the Hawkins ladies introduce as "our sister from our extended family."  The Dixie Cups are best known for hits such as "People Say," "Iko Iko," "You Should Have Seen the Way He Looked At Me," and their classic hit, "Chapel of Love."  All three ladies were displaced after Hurricane Katrina swept through their hometown of New Orleans.  The Hawkins sisters have relocated to Florida.
 
The Dixie Cups are still performing and are available for public and private functions (concerts, weddings, corporate events, etc.).  Please email booking inquiries to thedixiecups@yahoo.com and someone from their organization will get back to you.
 

 
Executive Assistant: Paul Errante (646) 361-7583
The Dixie-Cups, the act that launched Red Bird Records with the number one hit "Chapel of Love" and placed Jeff [Barry] and I in a more serious light as producers, hold a special place in my heart. They were the shyest, sweetest and most cooperative group I had ever come across and working with them was a lot of fun - plus you rooted for them, wanting them to be successful. I guess for lack of a better word, they exuded innocence and were in total awe of being in the recording studio. They listened, they performed and their sound was totally street. What you heard was who they were and what they were all about and they just sang from the heart. I'm really glad they have a legacy - from "Chapel of Love" - the first US record to hit #1 and break through the 'British invasion of the charts,' to "Iko, Iko," one of the most memorable songs of New Orleans folklore. They deserve the recognition and respect.
 

For site issues, please contact webmaster (webmistress?) Laura at oldiesconnection@yahoo.com