The Shangri-LasPop | 2010
Formed in 1963, The Shangri-Las were comprised of two pairs of sisters from Cambria Heights, Queens: identical twins Marge and Mary Anne Ganser and siblings Mary (lead) and Betty Weiss attended Andrew Jackson High School together. They had already recorded a couple of obscure singles when they were hired by George “Shadow” Morton to demo a song he had recently written titled “Remember (Walking in the Sand).” The haunting ballad made the Top Five on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1964 and also began the group’s association with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s Red Bird label, which would handle The Shangri-Las for the bulk of their career. The song “Leader of the Pack,” with its periodic motorcycle roars and crescendo of crashing glass, became The Shangri-Las’ signature song, reaching No. 1 in 1964. Several hits followed in 1965 and 1966, including “Give Him a Great Big Kiss” and “I Can Never Go Home Anymore.” The Shangri-Las, who would go on to have a total of 11 singles to hit the Top 100, were dynamic on-stage performers, choreographing their dance steps to their lyrics and wearing skin-tight leather pants and boots, which was daring for that time.