The Shangri-Las

One of the defining girl groups of the 1960s, the Shangri-Las will always be indelibly associated with the spoken intro to their biggest hit, the controversial death single “Leader of the Pack.” At a time when female singers were usually regarded as little more than cute pop puppets of record companies, the Shangri-Las took an unusually dangerous stance completely at odds with the image of most of their contemporaries - which was even more extraordinary considering their age (lead singer Mary Weiss was just 16 when they had their biggest hits). From a tough neighborhood in Queens, they were formed in 1963 by two sets of sisters - Mary and Betty Weiss and twins Mary-Ann and Marge Ganser – and specialized in close harmonies and dance routines. They performed in New York clubs where they were discovered by producer Artie Ripp, who signed them to Kama Sutra Productions. Songwriter George ‘Shadow’ Morton wrote the sensual “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” specifically for them and it was an immediate hit, reaching number 5 in the US charts in 1964. “Leader of the Pack” followed that same year, a melodramatic story of a girl falling in love with a boy from the wrong side of town who is killed in a motor bike crash with elaborate sound effects. It caused a sensation, topping the US charts and becoming a major hit in the UK on three separate occasions - 1965, 1972 and 1976. The group released their only two albums in 1965: Leader of the Pack and Shangri-Las-65. Other chart hits included “Give Him A Great Big Kiss” (1964) and “Out in the Streets” (1965) but, although they remained a popular touring attraction, the hits started to dry up in 1966 as music moved on. The group split in 1968 and fans were shocked by the sudden death of Mary-Ann Ganser from a drug overdose in 1970. There were occasional reunions by the other three members until the death of Margie Ganser from breast cancer in 1996. Mary Weiss pursued a solo career, releasing a solo album in 2007. She died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on January 19, 2024, at the age of 75.

Related Artists

Stations Featuring The Shangri-Las

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.