The Angels

The Angels, consisting of sisters Barbara and Phyllis Allbut, along with Peggy Santiglia, recorded one of Rock 'n' Roll's most memorable girl group classics, "My Boyfriend's Back".

The three started performing in separate groups while they were still in high school. In the early 1960s, Phyllis, Barbara and some other friends, recorded "P.S. I Love You" as The Starlets. Peggy, along with her group mate Denise Ferri, wrote and sang Murray The K's "Submarine Race Watcher's Theme", "Meusurray" and "Grand Kook", which were all aired on his popular New York radio program. Peggy also wrote and performed with two school friends as The Delicates. The two young female groups often met at record hops, the performance mode of the day for youngsters, since The Starlets and The Delicates were too young to perform in night clubs. Barbara, Phyllis and Peggy soon became friends and started to get session work as background singers for notables such as Neil Diamond, Jackie Wilson, Anthony Newley, Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli of The Four Seasons, Quincy Jones, Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme, Patty Duke, Lou Christie and Frank Sinatra.

The transition from studio group to concert group was steady, but not without the usual show biz glitches. Phyllis, Barbara and Linda Jansen formed a group called The Blue Angels and began to record, making the Top 20 in 1961 with the ballad "'Til", and the Top 40 with a follow-up, "Cry Baby Cry". Jansen left near the end of 1962 and was replaced by Peggy Santiglia, who gave the trio a tougher sound. In 1963, songwriter/producer Bob Feldman was a staff writer for April-Blackwood Music. He heard that the Sweet Shoppe, across the street from his old high school in Brooklyn was being torn down and went back for one last look. "While I was there", Feldman recalled, "an altercation started between a young girl and a hoody-looking young man with a leather jacket. She was pointing a finger at him and screaming "My boyfriend's back and you're gonna be in trouble. You've been spreading lies about me all over school and when he gets a hold of you, you're gonna be sorry you were ever born." That night Bob told his writing partners, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer, about the incident and they sat down and wrote a song about it.

"My Boyfriend's Back" was originally cut as a demo that the music publishers hoped to shop to The Shirelles, but it turned out so well that it was released as an Angels single. The girls were just finishing high school, recording and preparing their act for live performances when the record hit, and hit big. Phyllis and Barbara called Peggy, who was vacationing with her parents, to say "Come back now, it's a giant hit!" The record took North American by storm, quickly rising to number one and selling well over a million copies. The trio was much in demand and began appearing on all the major television shows of the day, including American Bandstand, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Mike Douglas Show, The Dean Martin Show, The Tonight Show, Midnight Special, Sha Na Na and even appeared in Las Vegas.

Now the search was on for a follow-up hit and the songwriting team of Feldman-Goldstein-Gottehrer continued to crank out material. Unfortunately, "Thank You and Goodnight" (#90}, "I Adore Him" (#25) and "Wow Wow Wee (He's the Boy for Me)" (#41) could only reach the upper limits of the record charts, even though the vocals and production were first rate. Besides touring, The Angels continued to work as session vocalists, their most memorable effort coming on Lou Christie's "Lightnin' Strikes" in 1966.

As the face of Rock 'n' Roll began to change in the late 1960s, The Angels were relegated to the oldies circuit. Phyllis branched out into modeling and sang in various commercials, including spots for Carvelle Watches, Thom McAnn Shoes, and Russ Togs clothing line. Peggy became a staff writer for April Blackwood Music in New York City, penning songs such as "Beggin'" which reached #16 on National Charts, and "September Rain" which rose to #18 for Frankie Valli of The Four Seasons. She also toured and recorded with The Serendipity Singers in the late '60s. In 1971 she became the lead singer for an all-girl group called Dusk, the female counterpart to Dawn, for former Token member Hank Medress, the producer for Tony Orlando And Dawn. As Dusk, Peggy had two chart records, "Angel Baby" (#93) and "I Hear Those Church Bells Ringing" (#99). When the Dusk project was abandoned, Santiglia was offered a position as one of the touring members of Dawn behind Tony Orlando, but declined. A dance record called "Sweet, Sweet City Rhythm" was produced in 1978 by Billy Terrell under her real name Peggy Santiglia for Tiki Records, but did not chart. In the '70s Peggy recorded a Brazilian Latin-charged album entitled "Fantasia Carnivale". A 1993 made for TV movie called "My Boyfriends Back" was loosely based on the Angels career, although the group in the film was fictionally named The Bouffants.

Phyllis eventually moved to the San Francisco Bay area; Barbara settled in Santa Barbara, California; and Peggy took up residence in Carroll County, Maryland. Into the new millennium, Barbara revived her songwriting career, while Phyllis, Peggy and Stan Sirico (conductor and lead guitarist) continued to appear in concert with many other original early Rock 'n' Roll performers. In 2005, The Angels were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. In 2008, they recorded their first album of new material since the late 1970s called "Love, The Angels".

Be sure to read Gary James' Interview With The Angels' Peggy Santiglia