Rosie and the Originals

Angel Baby

Rosie Hamlin wrote the lyrics for "Angel Baby" as a poem when she was 14 years old, still attending Mission Bay High School in San Diego, California. When she was 15, she and some friends rented a recording studio in San Marcos, California to record the song. The resulting record had a very simplistic sound, and, in fact, was eventually slightly damaged from excessive playing, so the group was unable to find a record label to distribute it. Finally, bringing the master to a department store, they convinced a manager to play it in the listening booth of the store's music department. The song received positive reactions from teenage listeners, and a scout from Highland Records offered the group a recording contract, under the condition that the company take possession of the master recording, and that David Ponci be named as the author of the song, as he was the eldest member of the group. "Angel Baby" made its radio debut in December 1960, before the group had even received their contract. When the contract finally came, Hamlin found that she was ineligible to collect record royalties from the song because she was not listed as the songwriter. This led to the group's break-up, and although Hamlin secured the copyright to her music in 1961, decades of battles over royalties followed.
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