The Shangri-Las

The Best of the Shangri-Las [Mercury]

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With over two-dozen tracks, this is among the most thorough single-disc compilations to feature the Shangri-Las. Under the direction of producer Shadow Morton and armed with the songwriting talent of the Brill Building, NYC-based sisters Mary Weiss, Betty Weiss, and their high school classmates Marge Ganser and Mary Anne Ganser -- who happened to also be twins -- would make rock & roll history as one of the '60s seminal girl groups. The young ladies' association with Morton actually predated their professional career. Morton would occasionally use them on demos that the song's author(s) would hock around to various artists and labels. One such imprint was Jerry Leiber's Red-Bird Records, who would issue the Shangri-Las' six Top 40 hits: "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)," "Leader of the Pack," "Give Him a Great Big Kiss," "Give Us Your Blessing," "I Can Never Go Home Anymore," and "Long Live Our Love." Of course all those can be found here, as can many of the equally angst and drama-filled cuts that didn't make the upper reaches of the singles chart. "What Is Love" -- from the "Leader of the Pack" 45 rpm, "Heaven Only Knows" which was the flip of "Give Us Your Blessing," as well as "Sophisticated Boom Boom," which backed "Long Live Our Love" are but a few of the earliest inclusions. By the mid-'60s, the ladies were still able to garner attention with "Right Now Not Later," "He Cried," and "Past, Present & Future" while still on Red-Bird. But what separates this package from other best-of compiles are the Mercury era selections "Past, Present & Future," "The Sweet Sounds of Summer" -- which made it into the Top 100 -- and the lesser-known "Take the Time." These harder-to-find songs are represented along with their respective B-sides, giving more credence to The Best of the Shangri-Las [1996] over some of the lesser-endowed anthologies.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:17
2 2:51
3 2:21
4 2:11
5 2:31
6 2:46
7 3:14
8 2:07
9 2:23
10 3:03
11 2:22
12 2:35
13 3:18
14 3:12
15 2:53
16 2:09
17 3:05
18 2:53
19 2:40
20 3:11
21 2:38
22 3:03
23 2:39
24 2:48
25 2:23
blue highlight denotes track pick