I would argue - preferably over a beer or 2 - that the finest 'girl group' of all time wasn't the all-conquering Supremes, the timeless Ronettes, nor even the life-affirming Spice Girls! No sir, the most shining, yet anguish-laden, heart-wrenching and interesting pop music femmes were those "tough girls with broken hearts" - The Shangri-Las.
Overarching both the rock n roll and the r&b circuit, four young, yet street-wise white girls from Queens, New York, hit the peak of their popularity 40 years ago in the whirlwind that was 1965. At a time when the music industry was unrecognisable from what it is today, the cat-suited Betty, MaryAnn, Margie and Mary captured the world - whilst handing it a piece of gum .
For an imperious read please see the tremendous "Out In The Streets - The Inside Story Of The Shangri Las" at www.girl-groups.com by John J Grecco.
This track - Past, Present & Future - is very much in the girls' narrative storytelling, style and arrangement. Far too strong for most radio stations at the time, the undertone and implication is heartfelt and deep. Young girls were just not singing about such things in the hit parade or on the jukebox. Is it autobiographical? The song "I Can Never Go Home Anymore" has a similar feel and emotional pull ... not to mention 'Leader Of The Pack'.
The music of The Shangri-Las has been widely covered - by artists as diverse as Aerosmith, Blondie, Louise Goffin and Twisted Sister! Indeed this track was recorded with great depth and meaning (not suprising - given her past) by Agnetha Faltskog (Abba's blonde girl) on her comeback album of 2004. Perhaps overwhelming passion is the reason for such disparate interest.
Seek out the music of the Shangri-Las and share the smiles, (Knickerbocker) glory and bittersweet tears.
(click here to buy the Best Of from AmazonUK)