Mary Weiss at Primavera Sound in 2008
|Born||December 28, 1948|
Jamaica, Queens, New York, United States
|Years active||1964–69, 1989 (as lead singer of the Shangri-Las); 2006–present (as a solo artist)|
|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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 is an American radio performer, known for some professional purposes as Cousin Brucie.
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).
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."
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.
In 2005, Weiss left her job in commercial interiors to get back to music. In March 2007, Norton Records released Dangerous Game, a critically acclaimedsolo 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).
Rosemary Clooney was an American singer and actress. She came to prominence in the early 1950s with the song "Come On-a My House", which was followed by other pop numbers such as "Botch-a-Me", "Mambo Italiano", "Tenderly", "Half as Much", "Hey There" and "This Ole House". She also had success as a jazz vocalist. Clooney's career languished in the 1960s, partly due to problems related to depression and drug addiction, but revived in 1977, when her White Christmas co-star Bing Crosby asked her to appear with him at a show marking his 50th anniversary in show business. She continued recording until her death in 2002.
Sister Sledge is an American musical vocal group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Formed in 1971, the group consisted of sisters Debbie, Joni, Kim and Kathy Sledge. The siblings achieved international success at the height of the disco era. The year 1979 saw the release of their breakthrough album We Are Family, which peaked at number three on the US Album Chart and included the 1979 US top ten singles "He's the Greatest Dancer" and "We Are Family". A third single, "Lost in Music", reached the US top forty. "We Are Family" earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
"Mother" Maybelle Carter was an American country musician. She is best known as a member of the historic Carter Family act in the 1920s and 1930s and also as a member of Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters.
Samantha Brown is an English singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and record producer.
Kim Carnes is an American singer-songwriter. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, she began her career as a songwriter in the 1960s, writing for other artists while performing in local clubs and working as a session background singer with the famed Waters sisters. After she signed her first publishing deal with Jimmy Bowen, she released her debut album Rest on Me in 1972. Carnes' self-titled second album primarily contained self-penned songs, including her first charting single "You're a Part of Me", which reached No. 35 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in 1975. In the following year, Carnes released Sailin', which featured "Love Comes from Unexpected Places". The song won the American Song Festival and the award for Best Composition at the Tokyo Song Festival in 1976.
Mary Black is an Irish folk singer. She is well known as an interpreter of both traditional folk and modern material which has made her a major recording artist in her native Ireland.
702, named after the area code of their hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, is an American platinum-selling vocal girl group, with the final and most known line up consisting of Kameelah Williams and sisters Irish and LeMisha Grinstead.
Donna De Lory is an American singer, dancer and songwriter. Part of a musical family, De Lory has been performing since a young age. Her voice can be heard on albums by Carly Simon, Ray Parker Jr., Kim Carnes, Santana, Martika, Laura Branigan, Belinda Carlisle, Selena, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, Mylène Farmer, Alisha and Madonna. De Lory accompanied Madonna as backing vocalist and dancer on every concert from the Who's That Girl Tour in 1987, up to the Confessions Tour in 2006. Her performance with Madonna at the Live Earth 2007 concert in London was their final professional collaboration to date.
Dolores Brooks is the second lead singer of the girl group the Crystals and a Broadway actress. She is best known as the lead vocalist on the Crystals' hits "Then He Kissed Me" and "Da Doo Ron Ron".
Larry Wayne Gatlin is an American country and Southern gospel singer and songwriter. As part of a trio with his younger brothers Steve and Rudy, he achieved considerable success within the country music genre, performing on 33 top-40 singles. As their fame grew, the band became known as Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers.
George Francis "Shadow" Morton was an American record producer and songwriter best known for his influential work in the 1960s. In particular, he was noted for writing and producing "Remember ", "Leader of the Pack", and other hits for girl group The Shangri-Las.
Jeff Barry is an American pop music songwriter, singer, and record producer. Among the most successful songs that he has co-written in his career are "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", "Da Doo Ron Ron", "Then He Kissed Me", "Be My Baby", "Chapel of Love", and "River Deep - Mountain High" ; "Leader of the Pack" ; and "Sugar, Sugar".
"Leader of the Pack" is a song written by George "Shadow" Morton, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich. It was a number one pop hit in 1964 for the American girl group The Shangri-Las. The single is one of the group's best known songs as well as a popular cultural example of a "teenage tragedy song". The song was covered in 1985 by the heavy metal band Twisted Sister who had a moderate hit with their version.
"Remember ", also known as "Remember", is a song written by George "Shadow" Morton. It was originally recorded by the girl group The Shangri-Las, who had a top five hit with it in 1964. A remake by Aerosmith in 1980 was a minor hit. There have been many other versions of the song as well.
The Best of the Girl Groups is a 2-volume compilation series released by Rhino Records in 1990. The collection, compiling 36 of the better known tracks by girl groups of the 1960s, shares spot #422 in Rolling Stone's list of "Greatest Albums of All Time". Music journalist Robert Christgau includes the compilation in his "core collection" for an essential rock library of music preceding 1980. Entertainment Weekly described the first volume as "a veritable catalog of the era's romantic attitudes". The New York Times recommends both volumes, in conjunction with Rhino's Girl Group Greats, for listeners seeking "the biggest girl-group hits".
Dennis Diken co-founded the New Jersey band The Smithereens. Besides playing with The Smithereens, Dennis is a fill-in DJ on WFMU.
Leader of the Pack is the 1965 debut album by girl group The Shangri-Las. The album was produced to capitalize on the group's breakthrough hits "Remember " and "Leader of the Pack" which had been co-written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. After the album's focal track went to number one, The Shangri-Las' style and image had evolved into something tougher and earthier.
Honi Gordon was a jazz vocalist.