The Teddy Bears was an American pop music group. They were producer Phil Spector’s first vocal group.
Following graduation from Fairfax high school in Los Angeles, California, Phil Spector became obsessed with the song “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” a song he had written for his group, the Teddy Bears. After a hasty audition at ERA Records who offered to finance a studio session, the Teddy Bears – Phil Spector, Marshall Leib, Harvey Goldstein (who left the group early on), lead singer Annette Kleinbard, and last minute recruit, drummer Sandy Nelson – recorded the song at Gold Star Studios at a cost of $75. Released on ERA’s Dore label in August 1958, it took two months before “To Know Him Is to Love Him” began to get airplay.
It went on to become a global hit. The record stayed in the Billboard Hot 100 for 23 weeks, in the Top Ten for 11 of those weeks, and commanded the number 1 chart position for three weeks. It also reached #2 in the UK. It sold over two and a half million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. At 19 years old, Spector had written, arranged, played, sung, and produced the best-selling record in the country. Although subsequent releases by the Teddy Bears on the Imperial label were well-recorded soft pop, they did not sell, and within a year of the debut, Spector disbanded the group.
Spector was not the only Teddy Bear who went on to a career after the group broke up. Harvey Goldstein became a certified public accountant. Annette Kleinbard continued to write and record songs, and changed her name to Carol Connors. Among her credits are the Rip Chords hit “Hey Little Cobra”, and the Academy Awards nominated Rocky theme song, “Gonna Fly Now,” co-written with Ayn Robbins.