The Three Degrees | The Popjustice Forum

The Three Degrees

Discussion in 'Comeback corner' started by Right_Direction, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. [​IMG]
    L-R: Valerie Holiday, Fayette Pinkney, Shelia Ferguson.

    As most people on here would know, I love my girl groups & The Three Degrees are one of my favourites.

    Whether it be in what most people consider to be the iconic line up of Fayette Pinkney, Valerie Holiday & Sheila Ferguson (1967-1976) or line up that followed on from that of Valerie Holiday, Shelia Ferguson & Helen Scott (1976-1986), I simply love them, I even have a soft spot for the more recent line up of Helen Scott, Valerie Holiday & Cynthia Garrison (1989-2010).

    Yes they were camp, yes they were never that big in America & yes they've had about 400 line up changes since the dawn of time, but push all that aside & they have really left a great legacy of some fine music & some truly amazing performances.

    Top: Shelia, left: Helen right: Valerie.

    Some of their greatest hits really are some classic moments in music history, especially where Girl Groups are considered.

    When Will I See You Again

    Dirty Old Man

    Giving Up, Giving In

    The Runner

    That's just four of my favourite performances by them of many, three of those are completely live, which is very rare for back then, when usually most people mimed or at least the background vocalists did. I have no idea how they kept up those dance routines whilst singing, I'm exhausted just watching them.

    As I said before, they weren't big in America, but were pretty huge in the UK & Japan, which I do think is a big shame, because compared to other girl US girl groups of that era, The Three Degrees were by far superior vocalists, they didn't have just one lead singer they all sang lead, though the singles were mainly one's that Sheila sang lead on, plus they were drop dead gorgeous.

    They've had their fair share of problems, members leaving, drink problems (Sheila), members coming back (Helen Scott) who ended up in the group for almost 11 years with the person who replaced her (Sheila), not being able to use the groups name in America for almost 20 years after they fired their manager, though I believe the name issue was resolved a few years ago & now they can be called The Three Degrees again, instead of just 'Degrees' or 'the former ladies of...'

    More recently after 21 years in the group, Cynthia had to leave due to a serious back problem & she has been replaced permanently by Freddi Poole who used to be in "Former Ladies of the Supremes" even though she was never in The Supremes, they are touring again, I missed them this time around, but I hope to catch them again if they come back next year.

    So are there any other fans on here? Why do you think they never get the recognition they deserve? Why did they never really hit the big time in their home country?

  2. 'Dirty Old Man' really is fantastic.

    Also this is AMAZING!!!!!

    I can't believe I've only just realised that Fayette left and Helen joined. Obviously I knew they were notthe same person as they have completely different faces and I have 6 of their albums on vinyl but for some reason it hadn't completely clicked.

    Freddi Poole is now in the Three Degrees? She gets around.
  3. Fayette died :-(
  4. Baby Clyde That performance of 'Woman In Love' is spectacular.

    I don't think Sheila ever gets enough props, she really is a phenomenal singer.

    Fayette died not that long ago, not that long after they were given a few big awards & she came back to collect them with the (then) current line up.

    Do you know what 6 albums you have of theirs?
  5. I LOVE them.

    From a performance point of view I don't think any girl group has or ever will touch them. And Sheila is one of my favourite voices of all time, how she could switch from one extreme to another, so aggresive in songs like "The Runner" but so tender in songs like "When Will I See You Again".

    Although they generally do kinda get a nod in terms of their place in the UK music scene in docos and the like I think they are slight under-appreciated and thats because they were very mainstream during that Wheeltappers and Shunters era which isn't very fashionable today.

    I mean can you imagine a girl group today have BBC specials from the Albert Hall... let alone an all black one?

    I also loved their random eighties efforts ie....
    ... which has quite possibly the best ending to a girl group performance ever.
  6. That video won't play in the UK *sad face* what is it passionoia?

    Sheila really is an ideal front woman, whilst they all sang lead, I can see why Sheila was pushed to the front & made to look the front woman. She really is a force to be reckoned with. The way she manages to sing the whole lead, dance throughout & sing in harmony with the other two members during the chorus shows her true brilliance.

    I love this interview she's so blunt, others would say rude, but that's just Sheila.

    They seemed to have such a great genuine chemistry between them.

    No I really can't, I don't even think The Supremes got that (or did they?) They had 2 or 3 live albums released, I think the BBC special was one of them? I don't have that, id love to own it.
  7. Try it now, I think I posted an incorrect link.
  8. Ah yes it works now, great performance.

    I like that they moved with the times & changed their sound over the years. It might not of always been successful, but at least they moved on with trends & weren't stuck in a rut.
  9. I've had a best of for ages and am fleshing out my collection and knowledge this year via the excellent Big Break Records re-issue programme... The Runner is genius.
  10. I wonder if they will re-issue all of their albums on that? I hope so.

    I just brought another best of from, the one I have is quite old (released on CD in 1994 I think) the sound on it is pretty terrible.

    This one here:{three+degrees}%2bc{34}%2bae55{Music+CD}%2b&urlrefer=search

    So I upgraded to this one instead:{three+degrees}%2bc{34}%2bae55{Music+CD}%2b&urlrefer=search
  11. I think I have the following but my vinyl is in such a mess it would take me about 6 months to check properly.

  12. The ending is fabulous the rest of it is just awful

    What were they thinking???
  13. That's a good collection there Baby Clyde, probably the better one's there.

    I don't know anybody who has the album they released with Victoria Wallace in the group in 1989 (...and holding), though I've heard it's awful, she didn't last very long (less than a year) so it seems so strange they did an album with her, but didn't with Cynthia, though they did a lot of re-records with her for various budget releases.

    I quite like Cynthia's voice, I think she brings a completely different element into the group, doing her own thing with the songs, whilst still sticking to the melody.
  14. I'm pretty certain The Supremes never had a BBC special. They did 2 TV special in the US with The Temptations which were released as albums.

    The live album from the UK is 'The Supremes Live at London's Talk of The Town'. This was a really big deal at the time because 'Talk of the Town' was the major cabaret venue in London. Only the very biggest acts played there.

    Their other live albums were 'The Supremes at The Copa', 'Farewell' (Which was Diana's final concert with them recorded in Vegas) and a 'Live in Japan' which was a post Mary/Jean/Linda line up from 1973.

    They did sing on Dusty's Motown Special with lots of other Motown in 1965 but that was on ITV.
  15. Oh right, cool.

    Given the facts that The Supremes & The Three Degrees did these live TV show specials that got released as albums (which must have been a very lucrative thing to do), I wonder why more girl groups didn't do this? or why they don't do this now?

    I know some have DVD/CD combi packs of tours etc, but that's not the same.

    I'm shocked that Shelia said on facebook that she has never met Diana Ross ever, their paths must have crossed so many times but they've never met.
  16. 2.99!!! Gosh, I may have to invest in that. Although I'd like the iffy mid-80s single(s) on CD.
  17. I just realised they are not on any of their albums, I guess the album they were taken from never got released? It's not listed on wiki or even mentioned on there.
  18. 'Dirty Old Man' and 'When Will I See You Again' are classics. I'd even say the latter is one of the best songs ever recorded by a girlgroup.

    Today's girlgroups could learn a thing or two from them!
  19. Be careful. I bought a very cheap Three Degrees compilation once (in a great internationl store) and it was not the original PIR versions, it was like new versions cheaply produced.
  20. Yeah you have to be very careful with their best of's, though most of the one's with re-records on have Cynthia, Helen & Valerie on the front. There's one on iTunes that has the classic line up on, but none of them are original recordings, which I thought was very odd & id be pissed off if I had downloaded that (as anyone would).

    That one for £2.99 on is with the original recordings, so that's a safe bet.
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