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Sixties girl group the Chiffons are famous for their soaring 1964 hit “He’s So Fine,” a song in turn remembered almost as often for its plagiarism by George Harrison than in its own right. Much of the rest of their catalogue, including the tremendous “I Have a Boyfriend,” gets shunted into historical and critical gaps that paint rock music history as controlled by men. In this article, I examine the Chiffons in their own right, reframing a story of well-worn sonic theft to center on the group it obscured, through and alongside interpretative contradictions, assumptions, and historical lacunae. I show that through their voicing of teenage girls’ desire, their place in an economy of cover songs, and, most notably, their own cover of Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” they shift the sonic effect away from the masculinized realm of production and push it back toward the singer. They also evoke considerations of cultural memory and legacy, particularly in their longest-tenured lead singer Judy Craig Mann’s curation of her own creative legacy. Examined against the historical grain, the Chiffons mark different kinds of powerfully transgressive, voiced spaces that work toward different forms of creative liberation.


This article was originally published in Resonance: The Journal of Sound and Culture, available at



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