Brenda Reid, Carolyn (Carol) Johnson, Lillian Walker, and Sylvia Wilbur formed the group – originally called The Masterettes – while at high school together in Queens, New York City, in 1961.
Sylvia Wilbur left the group and was replaced by Penny Carter, and they auditioned for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, winning a recording contract. Carter then left and was replaced by Herb Rooney. Rooney and Brenda Reid (one of the greatest and most underrated soul singers) later married.
The group’s name was changed to The Exciters, and their first hit record was Tell Him, which reached #4 in the US in early 1963.
Other songs by the group included He’s Got the Power, Get Him, and Northern Soul classic Blowing Up My Mind. The Exciters also recorded Do-Wah-Diddy with a revised title of Do Wah Diddy Diddy. It was covered shortly after by Manfred Mann, for whom it was an international hit.
The Exciters were friends of Jimi Hendrix and were one of the opening acts for The Beatles during their first North American tour in August/September 1964.
In 1965, The Exciters left the Leiber-Stoller management team and United Artists for Roulette Records. There they issued a remake of the Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers‘ song I Want You to Be My Boy.
They continued to record through the 1960s but with little success. The group broke up in 1974.