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FLEETWOODS INDUCTED INTO OHS ALUMNI HALL OF FAME;
FOUNDER GRETCHEN PERFORMS SONG FROM NEW CD.
Multi-Million Seller Recording Artists THE FLEETWOODS inducted into OHS Alumni HALL OF FAME, May 23, 2005, with special "thank you" performance by GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER. The "Night of Stars" took place at Olympia High School, Olympia, WA, USA, where founder and female lead singer, songwriter and vocal arranger Gretchen, with her two classmates, first put together the trio (who would become known world-wide as The Fleetwoods) with the self-penned song "Come Softly" (which would hit throughout the world as "Come Softly To Me" and endure as a classic).
With their intimate, hypnotically smooth sound (GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER alternating her lead with GARY TROXEL in counterpoint, and BARBARA ELLIS adding harmony), "COME SOFTLY TO ME" became the first MILLION SELLER, GOLD RECORD and BILLBOARD #1 HIT to be produced on a Northwest label (Dolton Records). Their follow up, "GRADUATION'S HERE" had been written by Gretchen and Barbara for their Senior Class Party. With Gretchen singing lead on the recording, The Fleetwoods hit again, two out of two. Gary sang lead on their third release, "MR. BLUE", and when it, too, hit the top, The Fleetwoods became the first group in the world to have multiple #1 RECORDS top THE BILLBOARD Hot 100 in a single year (1959) and the only group to achieve this in the first seven years of Rock 'n' Roll history.
Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), officially logged nearly three million US radio broadcasts of "Come Softly To Me", and The Fleetwoods performed on such legendary television shows as Dick Clark, Ed Sullivan, American Bandstand and Alan Freed. The trio is portrayed in the Alan Freed bio-pic AMERICAN HOT WAX, among a dozen motion pictures on whose soundtracks The Fleetwoods' hits are heard.
Gretchen, who sang lead on over 20 of The Fleetwoods' recordings, believed in the solo quality of each of the three voices. She performed and led the vocal arranging to feature each of them on 15 LP albums, including 11 hit singles which spent a total of 110 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100, the last being "GOODNIGHT MY LOVE" on which Barbara sang lead, in 1963.
The Fleetwoods were among the first inducted into the Northwest Music HALL OF FAME (1988) and the second inductees into the OHS Alumni HALL OF FAME (2005). For this "Night of Stars", Gretchen, a dancer choreographer and BMI Million Airs songwriter, sings a selection from her upcoming solo CD, Gretchen's SWEET SIXTEEN! It is the autobiographical soundtrack of our lives (music and lyrics she wrote and co-wrote) touching six decades. It ranges from her latest, (one she sometimes recites a cappella, and laughingly calls "soft rap") to her songs with the quality of Broadway ("future standards"), to new recordings of hits "Come Softly To Me" and "Graduation's Here" ("West Coast doo wop") and the first Fleetwood solo, "Blues Go Away" ("smooth jazz"). Gretchen is featured on the cover of Nothwest JAZZ PROFILE Magazine, 2-2005.
For more information on The Fleetwoods, to order CDs (The Fleetwoods' MR. BLUE and Gretchen's SWEET SIXTEEN!) or to sign the guest book, visit www.fleetwoods.com and www.GretchenChristopher.com.