The Shirelles were the first major female vocal group of the rock era, defining the so-called girl group sound with their soft, sweet harmonies and yearning innocence. Their music was a blend of pop/rock and R&B — especially doo wop and smooth uptown soul — that appealed to listeners across the board, before Motown ever became a crossover phenomenon with white audiences. Even if the Shirelles were not technically the first of their kind, their success was unprecedented, paving the way for legions of imitators; their inviting musical blueprint had an enduring influence not just on their immediate followers, but on future generations of female pop singers, who often updated the style with a more modern sensibility. What was more, they provided some of the earliest hits for important Brill Building songwriters like Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Burt Bacharach & Hal David, and Van McCoy. The group was founded in 1958 by Passaic, NJ, high school friends Doris Coley (later Doris Kenner-Jackson), Addie "Micki" Harris, Shirley Owens (later Shirley Alston), and Beverly Lee. Their breakthrough hit was the Goffin-King composition "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"; released in late 1960, it went all the way to number one on the pop charts, making them the first all-female group of the rock era to accomplish that feat. Several more Top Tens followed through 1963: "Dedicated to the One I Love," "Mama Said," "Soldier Boy" (their second number one hit), "Baby It's You," and "Foolish Little Girl." The British Invasion found bands like the Beatles and Manfred Mann recording the first of numerous Shirelles covers, but they also helped spell the end of the group's impressive run. They scraped the lower reaches of the charts a few more times through 1967, and from the '70s on made their living touring the oldies circuit.