Although it was assembled quickly in 1963 to take advantage of the chart success of its eponymous title anthem, the Crystals' second album is a near-perfect summation of this seminal girl group's effortless appeal and the surging majesty of Spector's production genius. Between the group's winsome vocals, the massed muscle of Spector's legendary studio band the Wrecking Crew, and the stellar songwriting of such Brill Building pros as Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Doc Pomus, He's A Rebel
is one of the most beloved items in the Philles Records catalogue.
While most listeners didn?t know it at the time, the Gene Pitney-penned "He's A Rebel" was actually recorded by Darlene Love and her studio group the Blossoms, and released under the Crystals' name. Love also takes the lead on the effervescent hit "He's Sure the Boy I Love." Under any name, however, these are among the most thrilling items in the Spector canon.
Along with such memorable early Crystals classics as "Uptown," "There?s No Other (Like My Baby)" and "Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby," He's A Rebel also features the controversial Goffin/King composition "He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)." Originally released as a single in 1962, the song's emotionally raw subject matter scared off radio programmers, and Spector quickly had it withdrawn from release. In the years since, the song has gained near-mythical status, and its inclusion here is a handy reminder of the power of Spector's singular artistry.