Barbara Alston, Singer in '60s Girl Group the Crystals, Dies After Battling the Flu

The Crystals, 1962
James Kriegsmann/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Crystals' Barbara Alston, Mary Thomas, Patricia Wright, Dolores "Dee Dee" Kenniebrew and Dolores "LaLa" Brooks (from left) in New York circa 1962.

Girl group singer Barbara Ann Alston of the Crystals died in Charlotte after a two-week battle with the flu, her family says. She was 74.

Alston passed away in the hospital on Feb. 16, according to the Charlotte Observer.

The Crystals were known for early '60s songs including "There's No Other (Like My Baby)," "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me."

Interestingly, the Crystals’ “He’s a Rebel," their only chart-topping hit, went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated Nov. 3, 1962 -- but the group didn’t actually perform the track. The Crystals were unavailable for the "He's a Rebel" recording session, so the Phil Spector-produced song was actually performed by the Darlene Love-led girl group the Blossoms, even though Spector released it under the Crystals' name.

Donielle Prophete, one of Alston’s children, tells the Charlotte Observer that although her mother appreciated the royalty checks she received for the songs she recorded, she was content with life beyond her days as a performer. A mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she was known to sing her hits around the house while doing chores, and she enjoyed knitting and cross-stitching.

“We used to kid her about her past,” Prophete says. “Diana Ross and the Supremes went with Berry Gordy as a producer and the Crystals went with Phil Spector, and I used to joke that if the Crystals had picked [Motown Records founder] Berry Gordy, Michael Jackson would have been our neighbor. We were always telling mama she ruined everything for us. It would always get her laughing.”

Alston's funeral was held on Friday (Feb. 23) in Charlotte.


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