Three attractive young ladies with loads of potential, became yet another fatality of the recording industry. Protègèes of the Jive Five, the trio (Barbara Sullivan, younger sister Shirley, and Kim Lewis) began their careers on Toot Records with a bang following the release of "You're the Cause of It All." Lead singer Sullivan's voice was described as a cross between Dionne Warwick's and Aretha Franklin's. Members of the Jive Five rehearsed, schooled, and secured their first recording deal. Barbara Sullivan was born in Augusta, GA, but moved to New York when she was two. She was inspired by her mom, who sang in church. All the Sullivans sang in church, including Shirley and four brothers. Outside of church, the family sang at community center shows. At the age of 12, Barbara Sullivan received voice training and studied piano for three years. During this period she remained active, singing in school choirs and securing the lead role in an operetta. A career in nursing was considered, but the singing bug was strong, and her icons were Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, and Martha Reeves. Shirley Sullivan was a native New Yorker who aspired to be a dressmaker. She attended Fashion Industry High School and had plans of opening a dress shop. But her plans were sidetracked when she joined her sister, Barbara, in forming the Lovables. Her favorite singers included Nancy Wilson, Arthur Prysock, and the Rascals. She enjoyed listening to John Coltrane and classical music. Kim Lewis, a close friend of the Sullivan sisters, sang in her church's choir, and spent a year singing with the Gospel Twilights, who included her sister and cousin. In junior high school she sang with the Ronettes for two years before the group became famous. She became a fashion model when she graduated from high school, and once appeared on the cover of Nightlife magazine. Somewhere on the road to success the Lovables were derailed. Their success was regional. Lovable sides include, "We Got a Need for Each Other," "Just Beyond My Fingertips," and "Take Me for a Little While." Trade Martin and Ed Miller produced their recordings. The ladies shined at the Apollo and other local venues in the New York area where they were popular.
Share this page