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Rosa Lee Hawkins (1944–2022), singer with the Dixie Cups

by Linnea Crowther

Rosa Lee Hawkins was a singer with the 1960s girl group the Dixie Cups, known for their hits “Chapel of Love” and “Iko Iko.”

Musical career

Hawkins founded the Dixie Cups along with her sister, Barbara Ann Hawkins, and their cousin, Joan Marie Johnson (1944–2016), in their hometown of New Orleans. They had been singing together since childhood, and they quickly became popular after getting a record deal and releasing their 1964 debut single, “Chapel of Love.” The song rose to the top of the charts, and they followed it with the singles “People Say,” “You Should Have Seen the Way He Looked at Me,” and “Little Bell.” Their final hit single, “Iko Iko,” was their version of a traditional New Orleans song that their record producers recorded as they unknowingly sang it together while keeping the beat with drumsticks on ashtrays. The Dixie Cups folded not long after the success of “Iko Iko,” and Hawkins later became a model and wrote the memoir “Chapel of Love: The Story of New Orleans Girl Group the Dixie Cups.” In later years, Hawkins and her sister reformed the Dixie Cups, with a variety of other third singers after Johnson bowed out, and they performed regularly for decades.

Tributes to Rosa Lee Hawkins

Full obituary: nola.com

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