Friday, May 23, 2008
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Shangri-Las
Song:Remember (Walkin' In The Sand)
Album:The Best Of The Shangri-Las
The story of the popular mid-60s girl group The Shangri-Las is also the story of enigmatic record producer George "Shadow" Morton. The Shangri-Las were two sets of sisters who formed a group while in high school in Queens, NY. Lead singer Mary Weiss and sister Betty Weiss and identical twins Marge & Mary Ann Ganser. Betty rarely appeared in public so the group usually appeared as a trio. Meanwhile, George Morton (born Sept. 3, 1944 in Richmond, VA) grew up in Brooklyn and was pals with legendary songwriter Ellie Greenwich when they were teens. In 1964 she invited him to her office at the Brill Building. Ellie's partner and husband Jeff Barry asked what he did and Morton said he wrote songs though he really hadn't written anything. Barry called his bluff and asked Morton to bring him some hit songs. So Morton arranged a session with the girl group soon to be called The Shangri-Las. He supposedly wrote Remember in his car on the way to the recording studio. The Shangri-Las were immediately signed to Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller's new label Red Bird Records and Remember was a top five pop hit. With its eerie sound effects, it was certainly different. The follow up single Leader Of The Pack was even bigger and reached #1. Of course that song cultivated The Shangri-Las reputation as tough girls that would make them even more appealing. The decline of The Shangri-Las had more to do with problems at Red Bird than the group. This Mercury comp covers their Red Bird recordings and some later recordings for Mercury. Morton left and produced hits for Vanilla Fudge & Janis Ian. He produced groups like Iron Butterfly & The New York Dolls in the 70s but had alcoholism problems in the 80s and hasn't produced anything in years. The Shangri-Las split in 1968 and unlike a lot of groups, never really reformed. Mary Ann Ganser died of a drug overdose in 1970 and Marge Ganser died of breast cancer in 1996. Mary Weiss had a career in the furniture business but actually recorded an album for Norton Records in Mar. 2007 called Dangerous Game. She's done an interview that you can see on Youtube. The Shangri-Las were a very interesting part of the girl group sound of the 60s. Here's a video of The Shangri-Las performing Remember (Walkin In The Sand). I don't think they ever performed the song on TV though they did perform other songs.