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Lynn Evans Mand, singer of hits with the Chordettes, at 95

NEW YORK — Lynn Evans Mand, who was plucked from obscurity to become the lead singer of the Chordettes, performing with them during the height of their fame in the 1950s and ’60s on songs like the instantly recognizable hits “Mr. Sandman” and “Lollipop,” died Feb. 6 at a care facility in Elyria, Ohio. She was 95.

Her grandson Robert Evans II said the cause was a stroke.

The Chordettes began in the 1940s in Sheboygan, Wis., as an all-woman barbershop quartet. They appeared regularly on Arthur Godfrey’s popular radio and television shows.

In 1953, Ms. Evans, as she was known at the time, was a caseworker for the Red Cross and sang with an amateur barbershop quartet in Youngstown, Ohio. One day the Chordettes came through town for a performance, and she had a chance to sit in.


The members of the group were so impressed with her voice that when the time came to replace one of the original Chordettes, Dorothy Schwartz, who was leaving to have a child, Ms. Evans was asked to audition for the spot. She won it.

“She sang so beautifully and expressively, very clear,” Marjorie Needham Latzko, another Chordette and a close friend of Ms. Evans’s, said in a phone interview. “You could understand every word.”

A year after Ms. Evans joined, the Chordettes had the first of several hits on Cadence Records, a label formed by Archie Bleyer, Godfrey’s former bandleader, after he and the host parted ways. (Bleyer later married one of the Chordettes, Janet Ertel.)

That song was “Mr. Sandman,” a frothy pop tune written by Pat Ballard featuring rhythmic nonsense syllables (“bum-bum-bum-ba-bum. . . ”) and the memorable line “Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream.”

“Mr. Sandman” reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart in 1954 and sold more than 1 million records, and the Chordettes became stars. They had more hits, like “Born to Be With You” (1956) and “Just Between You and Me” (1957), before almost reaching the top again — they made it as far as No. 2 — with “Lollipop” in 1958.


Written by Julius Dixon and Beverly Ross, “Lollipop” was first recorded by Ronald & Ruby, an interracial vocal duo (Ross was Ruby), shortly before the Chordettes released their version, which retained the song’s catchy refrain (“Lollipop, lollipop, oh lolly, lolly, lolly — lollipop”) and added a loud popping sound.

The Chordettes remained in high demand throughout the 1950s and early ’60s, appearing on “American Bandstand” and “The Ed Sullivan Show” and performing for President Eisenhower.

“George Burns, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Lucille Ball — we knew them all,” Ms. Evans told the Long Island newspaper Newsday in 1990. “It was wonderful, but it didn’t seem that big a deal at the time. It sort of went with the territory.”

The Chordettes’ popularity waned as rock ’n’ roll’s grew. They had a few more hits, including a version of the theme from the television show “Zorro” and a vocal version of the title tune from the hit 1960 movie “Never on Sunday,” before the group split up in 1964.

“It was a very tough and traumatic adjustment,” Ms. Evans said. “I had led a rather unreal existence, and now I was faced with things I had never really done — like shopping, cooking, and housecleaning.”

After the Chordettes broke up, Ms. Evans went back to school, earning a master’s degree in special education from Hofstra University on Long Island in 1969. She was a special-education teacher in Brentwood, also on Long Island, until retiring in 1989.


Even as a teacher, she kept on singing. She recalled reaching her students by creating songs out of words as she pointed to them on a chart.