The story behind this golden oldie has a somewhat convoluted history. “Sally Go ‘Round the Roses” was written by Lona Stevens, who was the wife of Abner Spector an A&R man and producer for Chess Records, and Zelma “Zell” Sanders, a Bronx native who owned the J&S record label. J&S recorded doo wop, R&B, and rock and roll. The Jaynetts were a combination of singers mostly from The Hearts, a group Sanders had recorded, and The Clickettes plus a few others. The song was based (loosely) on the “Ring Around the Rosie” nursery rhyme. There were five credited members of The Jaynetts who recorded the song: Yvonne Bushnell, Ethel Davis, Ada Ray Kelly, Johnnie Louise Richardson, and Mary Sue Wells. Other singers have been identified as being on the track: Selena Healey, Marie Hood, Marlene Jenkins, Louise Harry Murray, Lezli Valentine, and Iggy Williams. The story goes that up to 20 singers originally used on the recording. It was a very expensive week-long recording session, coming in at $60,000. Artie Butler, who went on to a long career as an arranger/songwriter/pianist with 60 gold and platinum albums to his credit, did the arrangement for “Sally Go Round the Roses.” He played and recorded all the instrumental tracks himself, except for Al Gorgoni and Carl Lynch on guitars — and possibly Buddy Miles on the drums. After all of that, Abner did not like the song. Butler played it for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who offered to buy it. That spurred Abner into releasing it. The B-Side had just the band tracks minus the vocals. In 1963, the song went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, #1 in the Cash Box Top 100, #7 in France, and #2 in New Zealand.
Here are the lyrics to “Sally Go ‘Round the Roses” by The Jaynettes: