59th Post: Trios (17 Groups)

DeCastro Sisters
Photo Credit: colorradio.com

The DeCastro Sisters (1946-1954) began as a Latin-flavored trio and were protegees of Carmen Miranda. They eventually became more Americanized in their performances and added comedy. The biggest hit single for the group was “Teach Me Tonight” (https://youtu.be/A1o57qfBV54), in 1954. The song reached No. 2 in the United States, and the follow-up, “Boom Boom Boomerang (song)|Boom Boom Boomerang”, reached No. 17. The group is referenced in an episode of The Sopranos, “Do Not Resuscitate”, as one of the only music groups that matriarch Livia actually likes, along with Mario Lanza. The three original DeCastro Sisters — Peggy, Cherie and Babette — were raised in Havana, Cuba, in a family mansion that was seized by Fidel Castro during the Cuban revolution and is now used as the Chinese Embassy. Their mother, Babette Buchanan, was a Chicago-born Ziegfeld Follies showgirl who married the wealthy Cuban aristocrat Juan Fernandez de Castro, owner of a large sugar plantation in the Dominican Republic, where first daughter Peggy was born. De Castro later developed radio and television in Cuba with David Sarnoff, who was often a guest at their home and was also in charge of a planned project under the Batista regime to build a canal through Cuba, which never materialized.

Dinning Sisters
Photo credit: nytimes.com

Active from the late 1930s to 1955. In 1942, the sisters appeared regularly on NBC radio, and had made an appearance in the 1942 Ozzie Nelson film Strictly in the Groove. In 1943, the group was signed by Capitol Records to be that label’s answer to The Andrews Sisters, who recorded exclusively for Decca Records. Lucille (Lou) Dinning once said, “Let’s face it, the Andrews Sisters were way ahead of us. We tried our darndest to be as commercial as they were, but weren’t flashy enough. We were all kind of shy. We came from a farm in Oklahoma. We never took dancing lessons or anything.” The Dinnings sounded rather like The Andrews Sisters in fast-paced recordings such as the boogie-woogie influenced “Pig Foot Pete”, as well as “Down in the Diving Bell”, “The Hawaiian War Chant”, and “They Just Chopped Down the Old Apple Tree”, an “answer” song to “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me)”. Their highest charted song (#5) was “Buttons and Bows”(https://youtu.be/WYbBgZrHmkg). The Dinning sound could also be compared, especially in slower ballads, to the soft blend of The Lennon Sisters, who appeared in the 1950s on The Lawrence Welk Show.

Dion and the Belmonts (1957-1973)
See Post 12 for details
Greatest hits: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD3D9DF2F6C1020D8
Photo Credit: singers.com
Fontane Sisters (1941-1961)
Photo credit: discogs.com

The group chose the name of Fontaine from a French-Canadian great-grandmother. They cut two singles for Musicraft Records in 1946, and then worked on sustaining (non-sponsored) programs for NBC, meeting and working with Perry Como soon after he came to the network. They cut two No1 hits with Como: “You’re Adorable” and “Hoop Dee Doo.” Then, in 1954 recorded their last No1 hit: “Hearts of Stone”(https://youtu.be/krPfRvBiNrE). Word reached the sisters, then in Chicago for NBC, that “Supper Club” would be making cast changes; they were eager for a chance to join Como’s show, which also meant being closer to their home. Beginning in the summer of 1948, they were featured on his radio and TV show known as The Chesterfield Supper Club and later (1950–1954) as The Perry Como Show. The trio also did appearances on Chesterfield Sound Off Time when the program originated from New York; however, the television show lasted only one season.

Kingston Trio (1957-1967)
Photo Credit: abebooks.com

The Kingston Trio is an American folk and pop music group that helped launch the folk revival of the late 1950s to late 1960s. The group started as a San Francisco Bay Area nightclub act with an original lineup of Dave Guard, Bob Shane, and Nick Reynolds. It rose to international popularity fueled by unprecedented sales of LP records and helped alter the direction of popular music in the U.S. The Kingston Trio was one of the most prominent groups of the era’s pop-folk boom that started in 1958 with the release of their first album and its hit recording of “Tom Dooley” (https://youtu.be/VhXuO4Gz3Wo) (RQ 9), which sold over three million copies as a single. The Trio released nineteen albums that made Billboard’s Top 100, fourteen of which ranked in the top 10, and five of which hit the number 1 spot. Four of the group’s LPs charted among the 10 top-selling albums for five weeks in November and December 1959,a record unmatched for more than 50 years, and the group still ranks in the all-time lists of many of Billboards cumulative charts, including those for most weeks with a number 1 album, most total weeks charting an album, most number 1 albums, most consecutive number 1 albums, and most top ten albums. In 1961, the Trio was described as “the most envied, the most imitated, and the most successful singing group, folk or otherwise, in all show business” and “the undisputed kings of the folksinging rage by every yardstick”. The Trio’s massive record sales in its early days made acoustic folk music commercially viable, paving the way for singer-songwriter, folk rock, and Americana artists who followed in their wake.

Lambert, Henricks & Ross (1957-1964)
Photo Credit: amazon.com

Lambert, Henricks & Ross were formed in 1957 and recorded their first album Sing a Song of Basie for ABC-Paramount Records. The album featured versions of Count Basie standards and was successful enough that the Count Basie Orchestra collaborated with them on Sing Along With Basie (1959). Sing a Song of Basie was awarded a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. Beginning in 1959, the trio recorded three LPs with Columbia Records. They recorded a version of Ross’s 1952 song “Twisted”, featuring her lyrics set to a Wardell Graymelody. Their High Flying album won a Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Groupin 1962. They also recorded “Mornin’ (https://youtu.be/Bah68kQlnAQ). Lambert, Hendricks & Ross were voted Best Vocal Group in the Down Beat Readers Poll from 1959 to 1963.

Martha and the Vandellas (1957-1972)
One of their greatest hits: “Dancing in the Street”
See Post #21 for more details
Photo Credit: Michael Ochs
Peter, Paul & Mary (1961-1970)
One of three No1 hits: “Blowin in the Wind”
See Post #30 for greater details
Photo Credit: americansongwriter.com
The Andrews Sisters (1925-1967)
Photo Credit: singers.com

The Andrews Sisters were an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. The group consisted of three sisters: contralto LaVerne Sophia (July 6, 1911 – May 8, 1967), soprano Maxene Anglyn (January 3, 1916 – October 21, 1995), and mezzo-soprano Patricia “Patty” Marie (February 16, 1918 – January 30, 2013). The sisters have sold an estimated 80 million records. Their 1941 hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” (https://youtu.be/sJTvO6XbaX4) can be considered an early example of jump blues. Other songs closely associated with the Andrews Sisters include their first major hit, “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön (Means That You’re Grand)” (1937), “Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out the Barrel)” (1939), “Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar” (1940), “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me)” (1942), and “Rum and Coca Cola” (1945), which helped introduce American audiences to calypso.

The Boswell Sisters (1925-1936)
Photo Credit: songbook1.wordpress.com

The Boswell Sisters were an American close harmony singing trio of the jazz and swing eras, consisting of three sisters: Martha Boswell (June 9, 1905 – July 2, 1958), Connee Boswell (original name Connie, December 3, 1907 – October 11, 1976), and Helvetia “Vet” Boswell (May 20, 1911 – November 12, 1988). Hailing from uptown New Orleans, the group blended intricate harmonies and song arrangements featuring effects such as scat, instrumental imitation, ‘Boswellese’ gibberish, tempo and meter changes, major/minor juxtaposition, key changes, and incorporation of sections from other songs. They attained national prominence in the United States in the 1930s during the twilight of the Jazz Age and the onset of the Great Depression. Their lone No1 hit was: “The Object of My Affection” (https://youtu.be/aEZqNidWlfs).

The Impressions – Jerry Butler (1958-2018)
Their highest charted song (#3):
“For Your Precious Love”
For more detailed information see Post #6
Photo Credit: deezer.com
The Lettermen (1959- )
No36 Charted song in 1961:
”The Way You Look Tonight”
For more information see Post #36
Photo Credit: recordsale.de
The McGuire Sisters (1952-1968)
No1 charted song: “Sincerely”
For more information see Post #17
Photo Credit: extratv.com
The Ronettes (1957-1967)
No2 hit: “Be My Baby”
For more information see Post #51
Photo Credit: cbc.ca
The Shangri-Las (1963-1968)
No1 Song: “Leader of the Pack”
For more information see Post# 14
Photo Credit: npr.org
The Supremes (1959-1977)
One of twelve No1 hits: “Baby Love”
For more information see Posts #s 15 and 17
Photo Credit: theguardian.com
The Three Degrees (1963- )
Photo Credit: National Achieve – Den Haag

The Three Degrees is an American female vocal group formed circa 1963 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although 15 women have been members over the years, the group has always been a trio. The current line-up consists of Valerie Holiday, Helen Scott and Freddi Poole. Holiday has been a member since she first joined in 1967, while Scott has been a permanent member since 1976, having been in the group from 1963 to 1966. The group were particularly successful in the UK, achieving 13 Top 50 hit singles between 1974 and 1985. The original members were Fayette Pinkney, Shirley Porter and Linda Turner. Porter and Turner were soon replaced by Janet Harmon and Helen Scott. The line-up from 1967 to 1976 was Pinkney, Valerie Holiday and Sheila Ferguson, who would go on to sing lead on most of the group’s biggest hits. This line-up topped the US Hot 100 as featured vocalists on the MFSB single “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” in 1974, and had seven UK Top 40 hits, including the 1974 single “When Will I See You Again” (https://youtu.be/3R878g-SppU), which was a huge international hit, reaching the Top 5 in seven countries, including number two in the US and topping the UK Singles Chart. When Pinkney left the group in 1976, she was replaced by a returning Helen Scott. This line-up had four UK Top 20 hits, including “Woman in Love”, which reached number three in 1979. Ferguson left for a solo career in 1986.