She was 76 and passed from internal bleeding resulting from complications during surgery at Tampa General Hospital, according to her sister, Barbara Ann Hawkins, who was also a member of the group.
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“Chapel of Love” was the debut single from the Dixie Cups, and replaced the Beatles “Love Me Do” as No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song had a bit of a revival on the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 Vietnam War film, Full Metal Jacket.
Rosa Lee Hawkins was born on Oct. 23, 1945, in New Orleans. The group started at a talent show (along with Joan Marie Johnson, who died in 2016). A scout for Red Bird Records heard them at the event and invited them to audition for the label. They impressed, and scored a contract.
The Dixie Cups received two Gold Records, one for “Chapel of Love” and another for the hit “People Say.” They were inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
The group recorded a total of four albums, and toured on the oldies revival circuit. In 2011. Johnson left the group, but the Hawkins sisters remained, employing a rotating cast of replacements.
Rosa Lee Hawkins is survived by Barbara and another sister, Shirley; a son, Eric Blanc; and two grandchildren.