Barbara Alston, a member of The Crystals, passed away on Feb. 16. She was 74 years old.
The singer died at a hospital in Charlotte after a two-week battle with the flu. Alston's family revealed that the singer was one of the 200 people that died amid the nation's ongoing flu epidemic.
Alston's funeral was held on Friday, Feb. 23 at A.E. Grier & Sons Chapel on Statesville Avenue in Charlotte. Her fellow The Crystals member, Dee Dee Kenniebrew, was one of the speakers at her wake.
Who Is The Crystals?
The Crystals is an American vocal group based in New York that was formed in the 1960s. From 1961 to 1964, the group released a slew of chart hits, namely, "There's No Other (Like My Baby)," "Uptown," "He's Sure the Boy I Love," and "He's A Rebel."
"Then He Kissed Me," "He's A Rebel," and "Da Doo Ron Ron" were all produced by Phil Spector. The three songs also made it to Rolling Stone's the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. In 2010, two of the three songs were dropped from the publication's list.
The group's other songs include "Please Hurt Me," "Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby," "I Love You Eddie," "Look In My Eyes," "The Boy I'm Going to Marry," "One Fine Day," and more.
The four other original members of The Crystals, Kenniebrew, Mary Thomas, Myrna Giraud, and Patricia Wright are still alive. Some of the group's albums include Twist Uptown, Another Country, Another World, Christmas Things, The Best of The Crystals, Mega Hits for You, and more.
Alston recorded the lead vocals for the majority of the group's songs. However, she did not like singing solos during live shows. Alston had a fear of singing in front of large crowds. Years after the group was formed, Dolores "La La" Brooks joined them, and everyone loved her voice. Alston convinced Spector that Brooks should be their lead singer.
In 1962, Brooks replaced a pregnant Giraud, and Thomas also left the group to get married. Two years later, Wright also quit the group, and she was replaced by Frances Collins. In the same year, Alston left the group so The Crystals was reduced to a trio. In 1966, The Crystals disbanded.
Collins passed away on Dec. 24, 2016. She had a son named Albert Johnson, who was a rapper and actor. Johnson aka Prodigy was one half of the hip-hop duo Mobb Deep together with Havoc. Johnson died on June 20, 2017, after suffering from complications related to his sickle-cell anemia.