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    The Shangri-Las

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    (Mary and Betty Weiss, Marge and Mary Ann Ganser)

    The Shangri-Las were a groundbreaking girl band. That's not an oxymoron!

    No, they were not the first girl band. As written in the Genya Ravan profile, Goldie and the Gingerbreads were formed in 1962, so they preceded the Shangri-Las, who came a year later. (Jebus! We wrote that profile nine years ago. Time sure flies...)

    The Shangri-Las were made up of two pairs of sisters: Mary and Betty Weiss, and twins Marge and Mary Ann Ganser. (In the photo on the left, you see them in the period when Betty left the band.) For some reason, the two duos have been reported as Jewish (They came from a somewhat Jewy neighborhood in Queens? They had Jewy-sounding last names?), but that was not the case.

    Their biggest success came in 1964, when "Leader of the Pack" rose all the way to #1 on the charts. Both Aerosmith and The Beatles paid homage to their other hit, "Remember (Walking in the Sand)". But that's not why the girl band were so groundbreaking.

    The Shangri-Las boldly went where no female singers ever went before.

    They wore pants.

    Verdict: Not a Jew.

    February 12, 2024

    See Also

    Lesley Gore



    Genya Ravan

    Helen Reddy
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