The song “Leader of the Pack” was by The Shangri-Las, a group from Queens, New York, with a tough-girl image. They formed while at Andrew Jackson High School in 1963. They were two sets of sisters. Mary and Elizabeth “Betty” Weiss and identical twins Marguerite “Marge” and Mary Ann Ganser. Their first big success was in 1964 with “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” and then with “Leader of the Pack.” In 1964, “Leader of the Pack” went to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #11 in the U.K. The spoken parts and the sounds of motorcycles and breaking glass as well as the orchestration helped to tell the story of this teen drama. It’s a classic of pop sixties music.
The Shangri-Las were a group from until 1968. They were out and about with some of the biggest groups of the time. They performed with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Drifters, James Brown, Herman’s Hermits, and Del Shannon, just to name a few . The Shangri-Las had some successful records with themes regarding alienation, abandonment, loneliness, and death (well, it was the sixties). These included “Give Him a Great Big Kiss,” “Out in the Streets,” “Give Us Your Blessings, “I Can Never Go Home Anymore,” “Past, Present and Future,” and a song dedicated to those fighting overseas in Vietnam titled “Long Live Our Love.”