R.I.P. Mary Weiss

I discovered the Shangri-Las in the summer of 1988, when my friend Rob and I had our minds blown by their greatest-hits album—late to the party by any objective measure, since their hitmaking days were twenty-plus years earlier, but nevertheless a long time ago now. Enduring favorite across the decades: the intense spoken-word song “Past, Present and Future,” which seems way too weird to have made it to #59, but nevertheless did.

In 2007, I had lunch at a Chinese restaurant with Mary Weiss, previously the Shangri-Las’ lead singer: she was promoting her first and only solo album, Dangerous Game. I wrote about that encounter for Rolling Stone; you can read the article here. She wasn’t going to read the fortune from her fortune cookie out loud until I asked her what it said: “Your beautiful voice gives deep and unforgettable impressions.”

Last week, sadly, Mary died at age 75. I had the honor of writing about her life for The New York Times: you can read that obituary here. A quote from songwriter Ellie Greenwich (who cowrote several Shangri-Las hits, including “Leader of the Pack”) about the group that we had to cut for space: “We would say ‘Not nice, you must be ladies,’ and they would say, ‘We don’t want to be ladies.’”

posted 25 January 2024 in Articles and tagged , , , . no comments yet

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