The Songs of Summer #49: ‘The Sweet Sounds of Summer’ by The Shangri-Las
Ah, that girl group sound…one of the best things about sixties pop music. The Chiffons. The Marvelettes. The Ronettes. The Crystals. Dusty Springfield. The Supremes. And those four ladies from Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, New York, The Shangri-Las. Here with today’s Song of Summer, ‘The Sweet Sounds of Summer.’
Unlike their more demure girl group counterparts, The Shangri-Las had a tough girl image that may or may not be rooted in reality. The two sets of sisters (Mary & Betty Weiss and Marge & Mary Anne Ganser) were famous for their songs full of teenage melodrama. Hits like “Leader of the Pack” and “Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand)” led to the group opening for The Beatles, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, and more.
‘The Sweet Sounds of Summer‘ is a single from 1967, recorded for a greatest hits album. The song features the girls’ trademark street-tough New York vocals and ‘wall of sound’ orchestrations (though the song wasn’t produced by Phil Spector; it just sounds like it) with an interesting little near-psychedelic breakdown in the middle that all by itself is worth the price of admission. It was the group’s second to last release, when record label troubles and legal woes brought their short reign on the charts to an early end.
Here’s to those sweet sounds of summer…the girl group sounds of the 60’s definitely fall into that category…Let’s enjoy them while we can.