Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Girl Groups!

The conventional wisdom is that rock and roll "died" between 1959 and 1964 - roughly the period between Buddy Holly's plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa and the Beatles' more upbeat arrival at JFK airport. In this scenario, The Day The Music Died is only the beginning, as Elvis enters the Army, Chuck Berry goes to jail, Jerry Lee Lewis is ruined, and Little Richard leaves the stage for the church.

Heavy blows, to be sure. But rock didn't die in that time period, obviously, it just recharged its creative batteries. Consider the Girl Group phenomenon of the early Sixties; it's thought of as a novelty or a time capsule of kitsch today, but these perfect pop symphonies mixed standard pop conventions with rock and roll sass, laying down the groundwork for rock's final acceptance into the mainstream. Where it has been ever since.

Of course, it also served as an important rite of passage for the American female, articulating their romantic angst while proving that rock, despite the 50s, was no boys club. It served other less-celebrated purposes, as well, launching the careers of songwriters like Carole King and producers like Phil Spector, helping fire up the Motown hit machine, and acting as a not-inconsiderable influence on four young lads from Liverpool. Here are the most Popular Girl Groups of the 60's!


The Ronettes were a 1960s girl group from New York City, best known for their work with producer Phil Spector. The group consisted of lead singer Veronica Bennett (a.k.a. Ronnie Spector); her sister, Estelle Bennett; and their cousin Nedra Talley. They reached the peak of their success after releasing Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica in 1964. Some of the group's most famous songs include "Be My Baby," "Baby, I Love You," "(The Best Part Of) Breakin' Up", and "(Walking) In the Rain."

The Ronettes - Be My Baby

The Shangri-las

The Shangri-Las were the most broadly appealing of all the '60s girl groups. What they sang about had a lot to do with it. The "hip" look combined with a measure of innocence also helped convince the kids of the sincerity of the Shangri-Las message.

The group consisted of four sisters Mary (lead) and Liz (Betty) Weiss and identical twins Marge and Mary Ann Ganser. All were 15 and 16 when they began singing at Andrew Jackson High School In the Cambria Heights section of Queens, New York Influenced by Little Anthony and the Imperials and the Four Seasons, they began playing school shows, talent shows and teen hops. The girls came to the attention of Artie Ripp, who arranged the groups first record deals with Smash, where they recorded "Simon Says" and with Spokane for "Wishing Well."

"Wishing Well" gave a taste of the future with it's talking intro over a capella harmony.

Shangri-La's- 'Give Him a Great Big Kiss'

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