When Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich wrote “Chapel of Love” with producer Phil Spector in early 1963, Darlene Love was first to record it. Unhappy with the result, Mr. Spector shelved it. Next Mr. Spector had the Ronettes take a shot in early 1964, but their version wasn’t released either. So Mr. Barry and Ms. Greenwich offered the song to producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
The timing was perfect. Messrs. Leiber and Stoller had just auditioned a vocal trio from New Orleans that included two sisters—Barbara and Rosa Hawkins—and their cousin, Joan Johnson. Renamed the Dixie Cups by Mr. Stoller, their gleeful rendition of “Chapel of Love” was released in April 1964. In June, the single was No. 1 on Billboard’s pop chart for three weeks straight, dislodging “Love Me Do” by the Beatles.