"Mr. Lee" Performed by The Bobbettes (1957)

May 16, 2008


“It all started as a pastime for eight girls ranging in age from nine to eleven in New York’s Harlem. Schoolmates that began singing in the glee club of P.S.109 in 1955. Calling themselves the Harlem Queens, they began by doing local amateur nights. Gradually over the next two years the octet shrunk to a quintet. After appearing at the Apollo Theater’s famed amateur night, they didn’t win, they broadened their already growing following. Soon thereafter, James Dailey took over the group’s management. Feeling that “The Harlem Queens” wasn’t an appropriate name for five girls in there early teens he changed the name to the Bobbettes.

Dailey got them a recording contract with Atlantic Records and had them in the recording studio by the end of February 1957. Their first four recordings were group compositions and it wasn’t a fluke. They would write ten of their first eighteen recorded songs.

The group had already written a few songs and one which was the legendary “Mr. Lee,” who was actually a teacher of some of the Bobbettes. The group’s first single was released in June 1957. Although the lyrics speak glowing of “Mr. Lee,” the original lyrics were not the least bit flattering. The girls had an immense dislike for the teacher and the song was originally written as a put down. At the request of Atlantic’s A&R executives the group revised the lyrics to make it more commercial or possibly less controversial. ” (Source)

Composed by the Bobettes, “Mr. Lee” went straight to #1 on the R&B Chart and to #6 on the Pop Chart.

Mr. Lee Composed by Heather Dixon/Helen Gathers/Emma Pought/Jannie Pought/Laura Webb

One, two, three, look at Mr. Lee
Three, four, five, look at him jive
Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
Oh, Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
Oh, Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee

I met my sweetie
His name is Mr. Lee
I met my sweetie
His name is Mr. Lee
He’s the hansomest sweetie
That you ever did see

My heart is achin’ for you Mr. Lee
My heart is achin’ for you Mr. Lee
‘Cause I love you so
And I’ll never let you go

Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
Oh, Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
Oh, Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
Oh, Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee

Here comes Mr. Lee
He’s coming for me
Here comes Mr. Lee
He’s coming for me
He’s my lover boy
Let’s jump for joy

Come on Mr. Lee and do your stuff
Come on Mr. Lee and do your stuff
‘Cause you’re gonna be mine
Till the end of time

One, two, three, look at Mr. Lee
Three, four, five, look at him jive
One, two, three, look at Mr. Lee
Three, four, five, look at him jive

Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
Oh, Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
Oh, Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
Oh, Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee

One, two, three, look at Mr. Lee
Three, four, five, look at him jive

Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
Oh, Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
Oh, Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
Oh, Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee

“Despite their initial success and the excitement of their performances, the Bobbettes’ next five releases sold poorly and Atlantic lost interest. At a final 1959 session, the girls recorded “I Shot Mr. Lee,” in which they finally sang what they really thought about their former teacher, but Atlantic refused to release it. The company did release the girls from their contract, however, and they went looking for a new label.” (Source)

This is what “I Shot Mr. Lee” sounds like. Great cut don’t you think? I had not heard it before I began searching the internet for information about the Bobbettes! Love it. Gonna add it to my Zen.

I Shot Mr. Lee Composed by Dixon/Gathers/Emma Pought/Laura Webb

One, two, three
I shot Mr. Lee
Three, four, five
I got tired of his jive

Whoa, whoa, whoa
We should’ve never, uh oh
Whoa, whoa, whoa
We should’ve never, uh oh

Whoa, whoa, whoa
We should’ve never, oh no
Whoa, whoa, whoa
We should’ve never, uh oh

Whoa, whoa, whoa
We should’ve never, oh no
Whoa, whoa, whoa
We should’ve never

Shouldn’t have never met a sweety
He shouldn’t have never met me
Shouldn’t have never met a sweety
Shouldn’t have never met me
Now his memory has got a history

He was a real cool cat
And wore a high top hat
He was a real cool cat
And wore a high top hat

He was a real cool cat
All the girls loved that

Whoa, whoa, whoa
We should’ve never, uh oh
Whoa, whoa, whoa
We should’ve never, uh oh

Whoa, whoa, whoa
We should’ve never, oh no
Whoa, whoa, whoa
We should’ve never, uh oh

Whoa, whoa, whoa
We should’ve never, oh no
Whoa, whoa, whoa
We should’ve never

I picked up my gun
And I went to his door
I picked up my gun
And I went to his door
Now Mr. Lee can tell me no more

He hollered help, help
Murder, police
The girl’s after me with a gun
Hollered help, help, murder, police
The girl’s after me with a gun

Six, seven, eight
Mr. Lee had a date
Nine, ten, eleven
Now he’s up in heaven

Shot him in the head
Boom boom, whoa oh
Shot him in the head
Boom boom, whoa oh

Shot him in the head
Boom boom, whoa oh
Shot him in the head
Boom boom, whoa oh

Shot him in the head
Boom boom, whoa oh
Shot him in the head
Boom boom

Thank you for visiting and enjoy the music.

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Filed under:Atlantic,Girl Groups,Heather Dixon/Helen Gathers/Emma Pought/Jannie Pought/L,I Shot Mr. Lee,Mr. Lee,One Hit Wonders,Pop/R&B,The Bobbettes

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bluedreamer May 18, 2008 at 8:30 am

wow great you know i also knew a song that was been answered by the other song like the song
“tell laura i love her” than it was answered by laura in the song “tel tomy i love him”
is it so cute

Reply

2 John January 1, 2009 at 12:58 am

Trying to find video/dvd of the performance of “Mr Lee”. I have seen it on T.V but can’t find it anywhere, any idea’s?

Regards

John M.
—————
John,
I would love to have it too. Perhaps some of the OldSchoolMusicLovers reading this will help us out.

Thanks for checking in.

SonDan

Reply

3 SupaStarry March 25, 2009 at 2:38 am

Takes me back to that episode on The Cosby Show when Clair’s old highschool friend came to visit. They threw on these short wigs and started singing Mr.Lee…It was hilarious but cute lol.

“I shot Mr.Lee” was the only version I heard so I always assumed it was the original, I never even heard the clean version lol (and I cant because the vid is removed.) Those were some brave girls, publically outing a teacher and using the real name too! lol I don’t have the guts.

Reply

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