Girl group singer and songwriter Jean Dinning died February 22 at the age of 86 in Garden Grove, California.
She was born Eugenia Dinning on March 29, 1924 in Grant County, Oklahoma. Jean was one of nine children all of whom were singers. Jean formed a singing group with her sisters Lou and Ginger that garnered them some fame; most notably with the song “Buttons and Bows”.
Dinning penned the mournful tune “Teen Angel” – a song that the BBC and many American radio stations refused to play claiming that the song was too gruesome. Sung by her brother Mark, “Teen Angel” was the song about a young love lost in an accident with a train. Despite the lack of airplay, the song reached number one on the Billboard singles chart and remained there for two weeks and sold two and half million copies.
The song opens with…
That fateful night the car was stalled
upon the railroad track
I pulled you out and we were safe
but you went running back.
What was it you were looking for that took your life that night?
They said they found my high school ring clutched in your fingers tight.
Dinning is survived by sisters Ginger and Dolores, children Shay, Cynthia, Howard, Ronald, and David, eight grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.
A memorial service is being planned for Dinning in Nashville on May 21.