The Shangri-Las’ Mary Weiss Dead at 75

    Mary Weiss, the former lead singer of the legendary girl group Shangri-Las, has died at the age of 75. The news was shared by Miriam Linna of Norton Records, the label that released her solo album, Dangerous Game, in 2007. “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. No cause of death has been disclosed.

    Growing up in Queens, Weiss and her sister Elizabeth “Betty” Weiss joined twins Marguerite “Marge” Ganser and Mary Ann Ganser to form the Shangri-Las in 1963. Weiss was just 16 years old when the group scored their first No. 5 single on the Billboard charts with ‘Remember (Walking in the Sand)’ in 1964, and they’d hit the charts several more times with singles such as ‘Give Him a Great Big Kiss’, ‘Out in the Streets’, and ‘I Can Never Go Home Anymore’. They released two studio albums before disbanding in 1968: Leader of the Pack (whose title track hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100) and Shangri-Las-65!. Dangerous Game, Weiss’ debut solo album, featured backing from the band the Reigning Sound, and Weiss went on tour in support of the LP.

    The official Instagram for Ronnie Spector, who co-founded the Ronettes and died in January 2022, shared a tribute following news of Weiss’ death: “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 honor.”

    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis is a writer, journalist, and music editor at Our Culture. His work has also appeared in Pitchfork, GIGsoup, and other publications. He currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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