Bonnie Sisters

If the De John Sisters hadn't recorded "No More," the Bonnie Sisters might have never formed. Pat Ryan, Sylvia Totter, and Jean Borgia worked as nurses at Bellevue Hospital in New York. They heard the De Johns' recording on the laundry room radio and decided they wanted to make records too. Whenever they could find time, they rehearsed, when they worked the same shifts they woodshedded on the job. Calling themselves the Belle Aimes, the trio honed their skills enough to go on the Arthur Godfrey television show where they impressed Mickey Baker, who later hit as half of Mickey and Sylvia. Baker hustled as a talent scout and guitarist and saw something in the nurses and got them a deal with Rainbow Records. Events escalated, they quit their jobs, changed their names, and dressed in identical scotch print skirts and blouses. Eddie Heller, the owner of Rainbow Records, came up with the Bonnie Sisters. The Bonnies' first effort, "Cry Baby," had been the flip of a Scarlet single; the Scarlets later became the Five Satins. White females singing an R&B song caught on, and "Cry Baby" entered the pop Top 40 and stayed there for three weeks, climbing to number 18. The follow-up, "Track That Cat," and subsequent releases "Wandering Heart" and "Confess" did nothing, and caused the trio to scamper back to Bellevue. In 1990, director John Waters named a movie after the Bonnie Sisters' lone hit entitled Cry Baby. It starred sexy Joey Heatherton, ultra sexy porn star Traci Lords, future talk-show personality Ricki Lake, and the then-unknown Johnny Depp. ~ Andrew Hamilton

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