Why The Shangri-Las still matter – a lot

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ll understand: it’s 2013, but you’ll never get over 60’s pop and 80’s synth. Hell, most of us weren’t even alive when our favourite bands were touring. But they still resonate with us because they often stand for something that never turns old.

The Shangri-Las were different than most girl groups in the ’60s. A lot edgier than, say, the Crystals. During their early revival, they even performed in 1977 at CBGB. Punks loved them. Not just in New York, but in London – The Damned’s “New Rose” and “The Leader of the Pack” both start off with the same question: “Is she really going out with him?”  The bad-ass, no-crap attitude is what is still so compelling.

To put it in simple terms: they’re the girl group you’d want to be. They looked like a gang from Queens and history has proved music loves gangs from Queens. Admittedly, some times there just isn’t enough girl love going on. Best to stand with your ladies than against them.

Unfortunately, the original line-up will never be seen on stage again (both the Gasner twins have since past away). That hasn’t stopped the group from experiencing a long-lasting impression beyond the days of girl groups of punk rockers. Last year their single “Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand)” was exclusively released on single for Record Store Day. And they sold like hot cakes.

It’s not just because they had rebel boyfriends. That cliche would be over-simplifying good pop music. The girls were a group that you knew took care of themselves. For anyone listening in the 60’s to anyone listening now: it’s still an infectious message that makes sense. Some days if there’s just too many stares or harassment, just pretend you’re Mary Weiss and you’ll stand just a bit taller.

Style aside, The Shangri-Las were just an excellent group. Girl and otherwise. Sometimes that’s all that really matters.

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