Rhythmettes, The

Three young white women in a posed studio shot



Jo Craig

Nadine Small

Donna Watkins

The Rhythmettes were a three-member vocal group from the Detroit area. The members were Donna Watkins, Nadine Small and Jo Craig. They met in the Don Large Chorus, which was affiliated with Fred Waring, in 1950 and decided to form their own smaller group. They played local nightclubs and USO benefits and became known for their charity work.

The Rhythmettes took on New York City in 1954, and they became acquainted with Alan Freed. They appeared on the bill for his First Anniversary Show at the Brooklyn Paramount in September of 1955, probably singing their recent single—released on RCA Victor earlier that year—“Only You.” RCA had been billing the group in advertising as “a great new rock and roll trio.”

In 1956, the Rhythmettes were participants in the “RCA Victor Starliner Tour” to raise funds for the March of Dimes; the tour also included Billy Eckstine, Eddie Fisher, Jim Reeves, and Diahann Caroll.

“Only You” / “Him.” RCA-Victor 47-6089 (1955).

“Metropole Show Stars Vocal Trio,” Detroit Free Press, 24 May 1955.

“Advertisement,” Billboard, 9 April 1955, 38.

Program book, Alan Freed & His Rock ’n Roll: First Anniversary Show, September 1955.

“Eckstine, Fisher Here for Dimes” Pittsburgh Press, 18 January 1956.

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