Mary Weiss

Last updated
Mary Weiss
Mary Weiss (Primavera Sound 2008).jpg
Mary Weiss at Primavera Sound in 2008
Background information
Born (1948-12-28) December 28, 1948 (age 70)
Jamaica, Queens, New York, United States
Genres Pop
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active1964–69, 1989 (as lead singer of the Shangri-Las); 2006–present (as a solo artist)
Labels Norton Records
Associated acts The Shangri-Las

Mary Weiss (born December 28, 1948) is an American pop music vocalist, best known as the lead singer of The Shangri-Las in the 1960s. She then vanished from the music scene for decades, returning in 2007 to record her first solo album with Norton Records. [1]

Pop music is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form in the United States and United Kingdom during the mid-1950s. The terms "popular music" and "pop music" are often used interchangeably, although the former describes all music that is popular and includes many diverse styles. "Pop" and "rock" were roughly synonymous terms until the late 1960s, when they became increasingly differentiated from each other.

The Shangri-Las American pop girl group

The Shangri-Las were an American pop girl group of the 1960s. Between 1964 and 1966 they charted with teen melodramas, and remain especially known for their hits "Leader of the Pack", "Remember ", and "Give Him a Great Big Kiss".

Norton Records, is an independent record label founded by musicians Miriam Linna and Billy Miller in 1986. The label concentrates on rock, rockabilly, primitive music, punk, garage rock and early rhythm and blues. Most of its output, both new releases and reissues, is issued on vinyl.

Contents

Background

Growing up in Queens, Weiss, her older sister Elizabeth (known as Betty) and her older brother George lived in Cambria Heights. She sang in school plays and church choirs. Additionally, she listened to her brother and his friends perform popular songs of the day; George being an Elvis Presley fan. Mary appreciated such performers as Neil Sedaka and the Everly Brothers; she attended her first Everly Brothers concert in 1963 at the age of 14. [1]

Elvis Presley American singer and actor

Elvis Aaron Presley, commonly known as Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King".

Neil Sedaka American musician

Neil Sedaka is an American pop singer, pianist, composer and record producer. Since his music career began in 1957 as a short-lived founding member of the Tokens, he has sold millions of records as an artist and has written or co-written over 500 songs for himself and others, collaborating mostly with lyricists Howard Greenfield and Phil Cody.

Early recordings

After Weiss and her sister Betty became good friends with twins Mary Ann and Margie Ganser in grammar school, the four of them sang at local dances and hops. That brought them to the attention of local producer Artie Ripp, who later signed them on to Kama Sutra Productions. After recording demos and making it to the Brill Building in 1964 (and signing with Red Bird Records), they recorded songs: "Remember (Walking in the Sand)", which was their first hit, and "Leader of the Pack", which went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1964. [1]

Arthur Marcus "Artie" Ripp is an American music industry executive and entrepreneur and a record producer.

Kama Sutra Records was started in 1964 by Arthur "Artie" Ripp, Hy Mizrahi and Phil Steinberg as Kama Sutra Productions, a production house. The "Kama Sutra" is an ancient Sanskrit text.

Brill Building office building in New York City

The Brill Building is an office building located at 1619 Broadway on 49th Street in the New York City borough of Manhattan, just north of Times Square and further uptown from the historic musical Tin Pan Alley neighborhood. It is famous for housing music industry offices and studios where some of the most popular American songs were written. It is considered to have been the center of the American music industry that dominated the pop charts in the early 1960s.

With their growing popularity, the Shangri-Las became a leading girl group in the 1960s. After several years of the grind, they split in 1968 and went their separate ways. Weiss went to San Francisco to try a different lifestyle. She later came back to New York and occasionally gave shows with the Shangri-Las during the 1970s which led to a comeback attempt with Sire Records in 1977. In 1989, the Shangri-Las reunited one last time for Cousin Brucie's Palisades Park Reunion show at The Meadowlands in New Jersey.

Sire Records is an American record label that is owned by Warner Music Group and distributed by Warner Bros. Records.

Bruce Morrow American DJ

Bruce Morrow is an American radio performer, known for some professional purposes as Cousin Brucie.

Meadowlands Sports Complex stadium

The Meadowlands Sports Complex is a sports and entertainment complex located in East Rutherford, Bergen County, New Jersey, United States, owned and operated by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA).

New career

Weiss took a job as purchasing agent in New York City in Manhattan, as she recalled, "I went to work for an architectural firm, and I was seriously into it. Then I got into commercial interiors, huge projects, buildings." [1]

Manhattan Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Manhattan, often referred to locally as the City, is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City and its economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough is coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.

Going solo

In 2005, Weiss left her job in commercial interiors to get back to music. In March 2007, Norton Records released Dangerous Game, a critically acclaimed [2] solo album, on which she is backed by The Reigning Sound. She has been performing in the United States, Spain, and France.

Reigning Sound is an American garage punk band originally based in Memphis, Tennessee, now located in Asheville, North Carolina. In 2012 it signed to Merge Records. The band's current lineup includes songwriter Greg Cartwright, Benny Trokan (bass), Mike Catanese (guitar), Mikey Post (drums) and Dave Amels (organ).

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References