Iconic 60s Shangri-Las Lead Singer Mary Weiss Dies at 75

Mary Weiss, the lead singer of iconic 1960’s all female pop group the Shangri-Las, has died. She was 75.

The ground-breaking U.S. all girl ensemble shot to global stardom on the back of a run of hit songs about teenage love, loss, tragedy, and longing.

Weiss took centre stage of the sound and look of the Shangri-Las, helping to pioneer the girl group era alongside the similarly fast emerging Ronettes.

“Remember (Walking in the Sand)” – also known as “Remember” – was the band’s first demo, written by George “Shadow” Morton. The track became a global hit on its release in 1964.

“Leader of the Pack,” also released in 1964, became a number one hit. Both songs were on the Shangri-Las’ debut album, also called “Leader of the Pack,” which was released in 1965.

The girl group opened for the Rolling Stones on their 1964 US tour.

On Friday, Miriam Linna of Norton Records confirmed Weiss’ death to the PA news agency.

“Mary was an icon, a hero, a heroine, to both young men and women of my generation and of all generations,” Linna said in a statement given to U.S. outlets.

At the same time the official Instagram for Ronnie Spector, who co-founded girl group the Ronettes and died in January 2022, shared a tribute following the news.

The Shangri-Las, L-R Mary Ann Ganser, Betty Weiss, Marge Ganser and Mary Weiss, pose for a studio group portrait in 1964 in the United States. (Photo by Gilles Petard/Redferns)

American pop girl group the Shangri-Las during a photo shoot on a terrace in London, UK, 24th October 1964; They are Marguerite ‘Marge’ Ganser, Mary Weiss, and Mary Ann Ganser. (Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Mary Weiss’ passing. She and Ronnie were kindred spirits; two fearless bad girls of the 60s. Join us as we spin the Shangri-Las in her honour,” the statement said.

The group disbanded due to legal issues. Weiss told Rolling Stone in 2007 that since they first began their priorities had changed.

“When we started, it was all about music. By the time it ended, it was all about litigation,” she lamented.

She had a resurgence in 2007 with the release of “Dangerous Game.” Oh No also rose again as a TikTok remix.

“Initially I didn’t know how I’d feel about recording again,” Weiss told the publication about her first release of music after 40 years.

“But when I walked back into the studio, I felt like I was home.”

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