Mary Weiss Of 60’s Group Shangri-Las Passed Away At 75
via Sky News Australia / Youtube
Rest in Peace Mary Weiss – You Are A Legend
Mary Weiss, the lead vocalist of The Shangri-Las, the iconic 1960s pop girl group known for their hit “Leader of the Pack,” has passed away at the age of 75. The news was confirmed by a representative from Norton Records, the record label that released Weiss’ only solo album, “Dangerous Game,” in 2007. The cause of her death has not been disclosed.
Her Life Celebrated
Born with a passion for music, Weiss began singing at an early age. In sixth grade, she was inspired by The Everly Brothers’ harmonies after seeing them perform at a theme park. Alongside her older sister Elizabeth “Betty” Weiss and friends Marguerite “Marge” and Mary Ann Ganser, the group formed in Queens, New York.
In 1964, at the age of 14, the group collaborated with producer and songwriter George “Shadow” Morton and achieved success with their recording of “Remember (Walking in the Sand).” This was followed by chart-topping hits like “Leader of the Pack,” “Give Him a Great Big Kiss,” and “I Can Never Go Home Anymore.”
Due to Weiss being a minor, her mother signed her contracts. The Shangri-Las disbanded in 1968 after switching to Mercury Records and facing legal issues. Reflecting on the whirlwind of their success in the mid-’60s, Weiss said, “My entire life was a whirlwind. For four or five years, I would go to sleep and not remember what state I was in when I woke up because I would do a TV show in the morning and a radio thing in the afternoon, and be on a plane and be someplace else. That was my life.”
Challenges and Her Image
Despite the challenges faced by women in the music industry during that era, Weiss maintained a tough image, keeping many at bay for her survival. After her time with The Shangri-Las, she pursued a career as a commercial interior designer and consultant in New York City.
Mary Weiss is survived by her husband, Ed, and her sister Liz, the last living member of The Shangri-Las.
Watch The Shangri-las live performance of “Leader Of The Pack” below.