The Three Degrees

Protegees of producer/songwriter Richard Barrett; Fayette Pickney, Linda Turner and Shirley Porter scored a US hit with their first single, Gee Baby (I'm Sorry), in 1965. This Philadelphia-based trio, sponsored by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, secured further pop success the next year with Look In My Eyes, but struggled to sustain this momentum until 1970, when their emphatic reworking of the Chantels’ standard, Maybe, returned them to the chart. By this point Sheila Ferguson and Valerie Holiday had joined the line-up in place of Turner and Porter. The Three Degrees’ golden period came on signing with Philadelphia International. They shared vocals with M.F.S.B on TSOP, the theme song to television's successful SOUL TRAIN show. This US pop and R&B number 1 preceded the trio's international hits, Year Of Decision and When Will I See You Again? (both 1974). These glossy performances were particularly popular in the UK, where the group continued to chart, notably with the Top 10 hits, Take Good Care Of Yourself (1975), Woman In Love and My Simple Heart (both 1979). Helen Scott appeared on the 1976 album STANDING UP FOR LOVE. Now signed to Ariola Records, the Three Degrees’ releases grew increasingly bland as they emphasized the cabaret element suppressed in their early work. Fêted by royalty—Prince Charles stated they were his favourite group after booking them for his 30th birthday party—the '80s saw the group resident in the UK where they were a fixture on the variety and supper-club circuit. Ferguson entered the '90s as a solo artist, heralded by the release of a remix of When Will I See You Again?. As to their proud heritage as '70s hit-makers of stunning visual appearance, Valerie Holiday has this to add: ‘They were wigs. You think anyone would really do that to their hair?’


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