Shirley Lee Biography
Shirley & Lee were an American musical duo formed by Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee in the 1950s and 1960s. Their songs “Feel So Good,” “Let the Good Times Roll,” and “I Feel Good” were R&B hits written by the talented couple.
New Orleans natives Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee grew up together. They were born just ten days apart in 1936. They recorded a demo for “I’m Gone,” a song Lee penned, at Cosimo Matassa’s studio in New Orleans while still in high school. When Aladdin Records owner Eddie Mesner heard the demo, he instructed Mesner to contact Goodman. Her religious grandma was initially apprehensive about her recording R&B and blues songs, but after he gave her $1,000, she agreed to sign with Aladdin.
With producer Dave Bartholomew, Goodman and Lee re-recorded the song. Their debut record, released in late 1952, reached No. 2 on Billboard’s R&B National Best Sellers chart in January 1953. Despite the fact that Shirley and Lee were never married, their romantic sagas earned them the moniker “the Sweethearts of the Blues.” They recorded songs that represented a love affair, relying on the contrast between Lee’s deep voice and Goodman’s higher voice. After “Shirley, Come Back To Me,” “Shirley’s Back” was the second sequel to “I’m Gone.” According to a review in Billboard (June 20, 1953), “The cycle has come to an end. She left first, then Lee asked for her return, and now she’s back and everything is well.”
When they first became famous, they were still teenagers, and Goodman’s grandmother accompanied them on tour as Big Mama Thorton’s opening act. Due to their age, nightclubs frequently stopped providing alcohol when they played. In 1955, they charted at No. 2 on the R&B chart with “Feel So Good” (not to be confused with “I Feel Good”). “Let the Good Times Roll” was their biggest hit, topping the R&B chart and reaching No. 20 on the Pop list in 1956. Let the Good Times Roll, their debut album, was released the same year.
Shirley & Lee relocated to Warwick Records in 1959, where they re-recorded “Let the Good Times Roll.” The combo was never able to match their biggest hit’s success. In 1961, they released their second album, Let The Good Times Roll, on Warwick. Before they split up in 1963, they recorded for Imperial Records. In 1972, they reunited for a few shows over a decade later.
Shirley and Lee first appeared on The Midnight Special (TV series) in 1974. ‘Lee,’ however, was the late Steeltown Records founder and actor Lou ‘Luddie’ Washington, as seen in the film Hollywood Shuffle. With her disco song “Shame, Shame, Shame,” Goodman returned to the charts in 1974. In the late 1970s, she left the music industry. Goodman went to California after suffering a stroke in 1994 and died on July 5, 2005, in Los Angeles. Lee, who had become a social worker, died of a heart attack, aged 40 in 1976.
Shirley Lee Discography
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Is Shirley Lee?
Shirley Lee is a British singer, songwriter, and musician. She is best known as the lead singer of the girl group The Shangri-Las, with whom she scored a string of hits in the 1960s including “Leader of the Pack” and “Remember (Walking in the Sand)”.
What Was The Biggest Hit Of Shirley & Lee’S Best Songs?
“I’m Gone” was the biggest hit of Shirley & Lee’s Best Songs. It peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1956. The song was written by Leonard Lee and produced by Dave Bartholomew.