Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83

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Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 4/8/09 6:35 PM
By Jay Levin, Staff Writer

Nancy Overton, a member of the '50s female
barbershop quartet The Chordettes - best
remembered for the sprightly hits "Mr. Sandman" and
"Lollipop" - died Sunday at a hospice near her home
in Warren County. The onetime Englewood resident
was 83.

She had esophageal cancer, said her son, Rick.

Mrs. Overton, a striking brunette who had been with
another singing group, The Heathertones, replaced
a departing Chordette in 1958, the year "Lollipop" -
"lollipop, lollipop, ooh lolli lolli lolli" - was released.
The quartet was formed a decade earlier in Sheboygan,

The Web site said The Chordettes'
harmonies formed a bridge between "simple-minded,
romantic popular music" and rock-and-roll. The group
placed 13 songs in the Top 100 in the '50s and early

Mrs. Overton, whose husband, composer Hall Overton,
was Thelonious Monk's arranger, toured with
The Chordettes until her second son was born in 1963.

"Part of my love affair with cars was going to car shows
with my mom, because The Chordettes performed at car
shows," said Rick Overton, an actor and screenwriter
who lives in Studio City, Calif.

The family moved to Englewood from New York City in
1966 at the urging of a friend, Dizzy Gillespie.

"Dizzy said, 'Hey, I found you a pad, come live near me,'"
Rick Overton said.

While raising her children on Hudson Avenue,
Mrs. Overton worked in editing at Prentice-Hall in
Englewood Cliffs. She limited her performing to the
occasional parent show at Dwight Morrow High School.

Many years later, she was back on stage when a wave of
nostalgia inspired The Chordettes, by now senior citizens,
to reunite. They played Radio City Music Hall in 1991.

Mrs. Overton, born Anne Swain, grew up in Port
Washington, N.Y. Her father was a physicist, and her
mother was a piano-playing, choir-singing suffragette.

"Her parents were very expressive people," her son said.
"An artist had a chance in that environment."

She met her husband while both were with the Tommy
Tucker band. They married in 1952.

"Mom was a witty, brilliant woman and stunningly
beautiful," said her son, who also does stand-up comedy.
"A lot of my timing is from her. She was a brilliant
wordsmith, and I got a lot of inspiration from watching
her goof around."

Mrs. Overton moved to Blairstown in 1982, 10 years after
her husband died.

In addition to Rick, she is survived by her younger son,
Steven, of Placitas, N.M.

Rick Overton said he plans to scatter some of his mother's
ashes off Maine.

Ray Arthur

Re: Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 Dean F. 4/8/09 7:03 PM
That's a shame. Personally, I've always liked the Chordettes -
especially "Mr. Sandman," but also "Lay Down Your Arms," "Just Between
You and Me," "Lollipop," "Zorro," and "Never On Sunday."

Given my R&B-oriented tastes, I'm not sure why I like the Chordettes
that much; but I do. Go figure.

Re: Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 Dean F. 4/8/09 8:43 PM
I just remembered something else:

In the early '80s, HBO produced a documentary called "Laughs," about
four up-and-coming young comics. One of them was Rick Overton, who was
quoted in the obit above. In one of the interview segments of
"Laughs," he mentioned that his mother had belonged to the Chordettes.

I hadn't thought about that HBO special in 25 years or more!

Re: Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 Eric Ramon 4/8/09 9:09 PM

I remember Rick Overton from that Beans Baxter show and from his
hilarious Democrats/Republicans bit, about them both being puppets.

About his mother, I bet my Mom knew her! She worked at Prentice-Hall
at the same time. My Mom has a book that her co-workers signed when
she retired. I'll take a look if I can get it from my sister, to see
if Nancy Overton wrote anything. Hudson Avenue...Dwight Morrow...for
all I know, I knew the family! I sure don't remember now but I must
have seen them around.

Re: Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 Sharx35 4/8/09 11:43 PM

"Dean F." <> wrote in message

They were damn good artists. Period.

Re: Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 Gunhawk 4/10/09 4:55 PM
> Given my R&B-oriented tastes, I'm not sure why I like the Chordettes
> that much; but I do. Go figure.

Very easy and natural to harmonize with.  I'll be you do it without
even thinking about it. (-:  It cuts across barriers that way. Adults
and bubble gummers alike will sing along to "Lollipop".

Re: Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 Sharx35 4/10/09 5:13 PM

"Gunhawk" <> wrote in message


Re: Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 Dean F. 4/10/09 8:27 PM

Interesting observations! I think it also has to do with my having
heard the Chordettes years before I discovered most of my favorite R&B/
Soul artists; though that certainly hasn't stopped me from no longer
liking a lot of the artists I enjoyed as a teen-aged oldies fan but
don't anymore.

Re: Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 Sharx35 4/10/09 10:51 PM

"Dean F." <> wrote in message

Perhaps one of those chronic diseases that you suffer from has so altered
your reasoning abilities.

Re: Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 SJC 4/11/09 10:08 PM
On Apr 10, 10:51 pm, "Sharx35" <> wrote:
> "Dean F." <> wrote in message

Hi, I'm an old friend that may recall before, but I've liked them. WAY
different than the RONETTES, stylistically, but excellent. PS
Scarlotti and a few others may recognize me as someone else, ..:)

Glad to be back..Steve C.

Re: Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 Sharx35 4/11/09 11:31 PM

<> wrote in message

Glad to have you back, Steve.


Re: Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 Scarlotti 4/13/09 8:21 AM
The Chordettes are my favorite girl group ... although I prefer their
earlier barbershop quartet records over their later hits.  Nancy
Overton was a late addition to the group, signing on in 1958 -- the
year they hit with Lollipop and Zorro.

Below is a list of The Chordettes' members.  If anyone can supply any
of the missing birth/death dates, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Janet Ertel-Bleyer (b.1913, d.11/4/88)
Carol Hagedorn (Bushman, also Buschman)
Dorothy Hummitzsch (Dorothy Schwartz)
Virginia "Jinny" Osborn (Jinny Lockhard, Jinny Cole Janis, b.4/25/27,
Lynn Evans (replaced Hummitzsch in 1952)
Margie Needham (replaced Evans in 1953)
Nancy Overton (Anne Swain, b.2/6/26, d.4/5/09) (late addition)

PS -- Hi Steve.

Re: Chordette's Nancy Overton Dead at 83 Gary Myers 4/13/09 5:29 PM

>>  list of The Chordettes' members.  <<

I also show Joyce Weston as a later member.

Gary E. Myers / MusicGem