Record of the Day: The Shangri-Las – Leader of the Pack (1965)

Are the Shangri-Las the greatest girl group ever? Their 1965 Red Bird record Leader of the Pack sure makes a strong argument for the case. Besides the classic title track, the record contains several fantastic songs, full of harmonies, hand claps and dreamy teen girl spoken word vocals.

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I’m not sure if the Shangri-Las are my favorite girl group, but they’re definitely in my top three. They were the “bad girl” girl group, shunning sweet outfits and faux personas for their more realistic and gritty New York personalities. It was a move that worked, making the group a popular opener for several touring rock bands, including the Rolling Stones and the Drifters.

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It’s a fun, upbeat record, one that’s easy to put on time and time again. The girls also cover a few mega hits on it, including both “Shout” and “Twist and Shout.” A perfect party record. The original mono will set you back, but you can easily pick up a reissue inexpensively, and it’s totally worth it.

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Dacia lives in Austin, Texas, where she writes, drinks & listens to records.

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