The Shangri-Las

Out in the Streets

Song Review by

In the fall of 1964, after scoring back-to-back Top Ten hits with "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" and "Leader of the Pack," the Shangri-Las confused the marketplace by releasing two singles simultaneously, "Give Him a Great Big Kiss" and "Maybe." Record buyers opted for the former, which continued the group's saga of teenage girl talk over the latter, a melodramatic ballad. In the late winter of 1965, the group followed with its fifth single, "Out in the Streets." The song was written by Brill Building veterans Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who had composed "Leader of the Pack" with producer George "Shadow" Morton. It was yet another exploration of a girl's relationship with a bad boy like the one in "Leader of the Pack" and the "good-bad, but not evil" one in "Give Him a Great Big Kiss." This time, the singers, in harmony and without any spoken interludes, explained that the boy had given up the gang and didn't do wild things anymore. He didn't even comb his hair the same way or wear black boots. None of this, however, was cause for celebration: "It makes me so sad 'cause I know that he did it for me." Finally, the lyrics declare, "I gotta set him free" because "his heart is out in the streets." In keeping with the downcast tone of the lyrics, the music is mournful, without the self-mocking edge of "Leader of the Pack" and "Give Him a Great Big Kiss." Maybe that kept the song from being as successful, or maybe the fashion for girl groups like the Shangri-Las was being overwhelmed by the Motown sound of the Supremes, but "Out in the Streets" failed to make the Top 40, and it hasn't had much of a life beyond the original Shangri-Las recording. In 1999, though, Blondie, a band with a continuing affection for girl group pop, put a cover of the song on their comeback album No Exit.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1965 Hi Horse Records
No Image 1978 Redbird Records 2:44
No Image 197? Charly Records
Leader of the Pack [Collectables] 1983 Prime Cuts 2:44
No Image 1990 Collectables
The Red Bird Story [Charly 4-CD] 1991
Various Artists
Charly Records
Leader of the Pack [Charly] 1992 Charly Records
The Brill Building Sound 1993
Various Artists
Era Records 2:43
Myrmidons of Melodrama [RPM 136] 1994 RPM 2:49
Greatest Hits [Remember] 1996 Remember Records 2:41
The Best of the Shangri-Las [Mercury] 1996 Mercury 2:46
Leader of the Pack [Polygram] 1998 PSM 2:47
The Very Best of the Shangri Las 2000 Cleopatra 2:49
No Image 2000 Metro
Red Bird Story [3 CD] 2001
Various Artists
Snapper / Charly 2:47
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Shangri-La's 2002 Mercury / MCA 2:48
Gold Collection: Golden Oldies 2004
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:43
Gold Collection: Rock 'N' Roll Party 2004
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:45
The Leader of the Pack [Synergy] 2004 Synergy Distribution 2:48
One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found 2005
Various Artists
Rhino 2:45
Golden Legends: The Shangri-Las 2006 Madacy 2:46
Do-Wah-Diddy: Words and Music by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry 2008
Various Artists
Ace 2:47
Shangri-Las 2009 Lilith 2:43
Lipstick, Powder & Paint: The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First 2013
Various Artists
Ace 2:47
The Dixie Cups Meet the Shangri-Las Charly Records