Rosa Lee Hawkins, Youngest Member of the Dixie Cups, Dies at 76

by WDC News 6 Staff


Rosa Lee Hawkins, the youngest member of the musical trio the Dixie Cups, whose hit single “Chapel of Love” reached No. 1 on the Billboard 100 in 1964, died on Tuesday in Tampa, Fla. She was 76.

The trigger was inner bleeding ensuing from issues throughout surgical procedure at Tampa Common Hospital, mentioned her sister Barbara Ann Hawkins, who was additionally a member of the group, together with Joan Marie Johnson, who died in 2016 at 72.

The Dixie Cups epitomized the harmonizing sound of the Sixties lady group. “Chapel of Love,” their debut single and most well-known tune, shortly changed the Beatles’ “Love Me Do” as No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1964. It was later heard on the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 Vietnam Battle movie, “Full Steel Jacket.”

Rosa Lee Hawkins was born on Oct. 23, 1945, in New Orleans to Hartzell Hawkins, a self-employed carpenter, and Lucille (Merette) Hawkins, a state employee who registered voters.

Whereas in highschool in 1963, Barbara introduced Rosa alongside to sing together with her and Joan Marie in a highschool expertise present. The trio initially known as themselves the Meltones, solely to find later that the title had already been taken. Since they have been from the land of Dixie, and “cups are cute,” Barbara mentioned in an interview, they got here up with the title Dixie Cups (enjoying on the title of the favored paper cup).

Joan later found that the Hawkins sisters have been really her cousins.

Whereas they didn’t win the expertise present, a expertise scout within the viewers, impressed by their wealthy harmonies, invited the group, together with different Louisiana musicians, to carry out for Pink Hen Information. The Dixie Cups sang “Iko Iko,” a tune that was historically sung throughout Mardi Gras and that was a favourite of the Hawkins sisters’ grandmother. They signed a recording contract quickly after.

The Dixie Cups acquired two Gold Information, for “Chapel of Love” and one other hit, “Folks Say.” They have been inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

The group recorded a complete of 4 albums, their final in 2011. Ms. Johnson, sick with sickle-cell anemia and weary from touring, left the group and was changed by various singers by way of the years. The Hawkins sisters remained, although, and stored singing simply as they did in highschool, with harmonies as vibrant as ever.

“When the viewers smiled and applauded, it made her completely happy as a result of she knew she put a smile on their faces, if just for that point,” Barbara mentioned of her youthful sister.

Along with Barbara, Ms. Hawkins is survived by one other sister, Shirley; a son, Eric Blanc; and two grandchildren.



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