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The Shangri-Las

From Academic Kids

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The_Shangri-Las-Millennium_Collection.jpg
The Shangri-Las on the cover of a modern collection of their works. From left to right: Marguerite "Marge" Ganser, Mary Weiss, and Mary Ann Ganser.

The Shangri-Las were an American pop music girl group of the 1960s.

The group were formed at Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, New York as the Bon Bons in 1963. They consisted of two sets of sisters: Mary (lead singer) and Elizabeth "Liz/Betty" Weiss, and identical twins Marguerite "Marge" and Mary Ann Ganser.

In April of 1964, since the girls were still minors, their parents signed for them with Red Bird Records; Mary was 15, Betty was 17, and the Ganser twins were 16. That same year, they had their first hit, "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" (US #5, UK #14), after being hired by the producer George "Shadow" Morton. Their songs for Morton featured lavish production with heavy orchestration and sound effects; their biggest hit, the renowned death disc "Leader of the Pack" (US #1, UK #11), climaxes with the sounds of roaring motorcycles and breaking glass.

The band continued to have a string of US hit records, mainly on depressing themes such as death, loneliness, and abandonment.

In 1966, the Shangri-Las' subsequent two releases on Red Bird failed to make the top 50. That same year the band left Red Bird and Morton after the label folded. At the beginning of 1967, Marge decided to leave the group. Despite signing to Mercury Records that year, the group had no further hits. In 1968, they disbanded.

Mary Ann died of encephalitis in 1971. Marge succumbed to breast cancer on July 28, 1996 at age 48.

Discography

Standard albums

  • 1964: Leader of the Pack (US #109)
  • 1965: Shangri-Las-65!

Compilations

  • 1966: Golden Hits of the Shangri-Las
  • 1975: The Shangri-Las Sing
  • 1996: The Best of the Shangri-Las

Singles

  • 1964: "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" (US #5, UK #14)
  • 1964: "Leader of the Pack" (US #1, UK #11)
  • 1965: "Give Him a Great Big Kiss" (US #18)
  • 1965: "Give Us Your Blessings" (US #29)
  • 1965: "I Can Never Go Home Anymore" (US #6)
  • 1965: "Maybe" (US #91)
  • 1965: "Out in the Streets" (US #53)
  • 1965: "Right Now and Not Later" (US #99)
  • 1966: "He Cried" (US #65)
  • 1966: "Long Live Our Love" (US #33)
  • 1966: "Past, Present and Future" (US #59)sv:Shangri-Las, The
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