One original member of the vocal trio, the Dixie Cups, Rosa Lee Hawkins, passed away at the age of 76.
Older sister and fellow Dixie Cup member Barbara confirmed that Hawkins died due to internal bleeding and other complications from a surgical procedure that she went through a week before her passing.
She died Tuesday, January 12, at Tampa General Hospital in Florida.
The Dixie Cups in the Industry
According to Deadline, Hawkins was from New Orleans, born on October 23, 1945.
The trio’s first formation happened at a New Orleans talent show, where they performed Three Playmates’ “Lovey Dovey Pair” in 1963. Despite not winning the consolation prize, the trio signed under Red Bird Records as a scout, Joe Jones, found them during the event, offering them to audition for the label.
Under the record label, they debuted with the single “Chapel of Love,” released in 1964, which took over the Beatles’ “Love Me Do” spot as No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was said to be connected as a revival of a soundtrack from Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 film, “Full Metal Jacket.”
The Dixie Cups took home two Gold Records throughout their career, one for their debut song and another one for “People Say.” By 2007, they were then inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
Billboard also reported a time where Hawkins brought up an accusation in her 2021 memoir “Chapel of Love: The Story of New Orleans Girl Group the Dixie Cups.” She claimed that the talent scout who then became their manager, Jones, abused her sexually and exploited the group financially.
“It’s hard to say when the lying started for Joe,” she wrote. Rosa Hawkins told the Republic later, “The only time we made money off ‘Chapel of Love’ is when we appeared onstage at the theaters or the sock hops or whatever.”
By 1966, their cousin left the group, making the siblings look for replacements. Their family friend Athelgra Neville took over and became a part of the group touring with the sisters for decades. Their recent album named “Doing It Our Own Way,” was released in 2011, which included versions of “Chapel of Love” and “Iko Iko.”
— TheSHAW (@JoinTheSHAW) January 14, 2022
May her soul rest in peace.