Few performers can truly be called trendsetters. Fewer still can sustain a high-visibility presence in the pop culture consciousness for over 50 years. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members, The Shirelles have done these things and more. They have earned their exalted place in modern musical history.
Beginning in 1958 as schoolgirls in Passaic, New Jersey, The Shirelles quickly became rock & roll's first female supergroup and were the inspirations for a legion of female groups that followed. The Shirelles are the original "Dream Girls" and have earned their exalted place in modern musical history.
They are universally credited as the originators of the Girl Group Sound that is so beloved by the Baby Boomer generation. Their long string of hits, including Soldier Boy, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Dedicated To The One I Love, Mama Said, and so many others, have been recorded by hundreds of artists, including The Beatles, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton & The Yardbirds, The Mamas & the Papas, Bernadette Peters and Smokey Robinson.
The Shirelles have received awards from BMI, The USO, The Vietnam Veterans of America, and the US Army. They received three gold records and were named Best Female Group in Billboard and Cash Box for five consecutive years. The 25th Anniversary of The Shirelles resulted in their receiving a citation in the Congressional Record in July 1983.
The lasting appeal of these classic hits is so broad that they continue to be heard daily on a wide variety of radio formats. The Shirelles' songs have also been featured in scores of films and TV shows.
The Shirelles were among the first women to write their own music and they also launched the careers of songwriters like Carole King, Burt Bacharach, Ashford & Simpson and Van McCoy. Constantly reissued, "The Shirelles Greatest Hits" received the highest rating in the Rolling Stone Record Guide. Leading music critic Dave Marsh described the album as essential to any serious record collector. The rise of compact discs has seen several original The Shirelles albums re-released to resounding acclaim, both critically and commercially.
Since their 1958 debut at the New York's legendary Apollo Theater, The Shirelles have graced virtually every important stage in the world, countless supper clubs, discos, state fairs, hotel ballrooms and casinos. Years of nonstop touring have taken The Shirelles to Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and every state in the U.S.
Shirelles songs have been recorded by the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Cher, Pattie LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick, Roberta Flack, Tony Orlando, Linda Ronstadt, The 4 Seasons, Laura Nyro, Mamas & Papas, Bernadette Peters Pattie Austin, Chuck Jackson, Donna Fargo, Peaches & Herb, and hundreds of others.
Recently, The Shirelles began a new phase in their career, appearing in concert with Symphony Orchestras across the country.
With a history that includes headlining the first integrated show in Alabama, participating in early bus tours and package shows with their peers among the originators of rock & roll, and performing for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, The Shirelles have many inside stories to tell and are currently in great demand on the TV talk/interview circuit.
The Shirelles were among the first star entertainers to get involved in the battle against AIDS, and have also served as fund raisers for the USO (they hosted a gala New York benefit for the Persian Gulf troops) and the Mental Health Association in Passaic (NJ) County for which The Shirelles co-founder Beverly Lee has served on the Board of Directors.
In recent years The Shirelles have received the Soul of America Music Award and the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, in addition to their 1996 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The Shirelles have made such an indelible impression on American culture that their name is regularly used in the Doonesbury comic strips and on TV programs (Golden Girls, Cheers, Murphy Brown, Blossom) to personify the era of the 50s and 60s.
They continue to thrill audiences worldwide with their high-energy show, "An Evening With The Shirelles", that includes their many hits interspersed with a wide range of selections from pop, rock and soul to standards, gospel and country, mixed with spirited dancing and comedy, all done in the inimitable style that millions of fans have come to expect of the legend that is The Shirelles.
1961 Tour of Jamaica - L-R: Ernie K-Doe, Beverly Lee, Micki, Doris, Shirley, Ronnie Evans, Little Anthony, ??