Sisters Betty, 16 and Rose Collins, 14 were the Teen Queens. They came from a musical family, as brother Aaron Collins was a founding member of the Jacks and Cadets and he arranged for them to record for the same label family he was on, Modern and RPM.
“My sisters came from our original home in Arkansas and my father bought a house,” Collins told Jim Dawson. “They were living in Venice with my dad and going to Venice High School.” According to Collins, who was living in nearby Santa Monica at the time, sister Betty came by and asked, “why don’t you try to get me and Rosie going?” Collins recalled, “they both sang in church, I thought it was a good idea, so I decided to write them a song we could take in to Maxwell Davis at Modern.”
He wrote the song “Johnny My Love,” as a tribute to Johnny Ace who had died about a year previously. “There were a lot of girl singers out there singing about Johnny, ‘dear Johnny’, ‘why Johnny why?’ so I just came up with this thing about ‘Johnny My Love’, and then I changed the name to ‘Eddie My Love’ because the ‘Johnny’ thing was going out.”
According to Collins, “they had an ear for harmony, but Rosie was the more talented of the two. Betty would just sing the melody and Rosie would harmonize a third about her. That was their sound.”
With Davis’ velvety horn supplementing the sound, the plaintive “Eddie My Love” b/w “Just Goofed” wasted little time reaching the charts….R&B #2 in Feb. and Pop #14 in March ’56.
The Teen Queens name was chosen because of the recent popularity of Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers. The RPM label quickly ran out of paper, so originals of “Eddie My Love” were released on red, blue and black labels.
There were covers by the Fontane Sisters, which hit #11, the Chordettes, which hit #14 and Lillian Briggs. Speedo of the Cadillacs, who was purportedly smitten by Betty Collins, turned the song into “Betty My Love” as a tribute to her.
At this juncture, Aaron Collins’ Cadets group hit with “Stranded In the Jungle,” requiring them to tour and freeing the Teen Queens from his supervision. That was a bad thing.
“I put my wife on the road with the girls, and that’s when they really went wild. When they came back home and their record started going down, they got in with their friends and started using dope.”