The Shangri-Las, The Very Best Of The Shangri-Las

Andy Gill

By Andy Gill

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Classic teenage symphonies to glamorous rebellion and romantic yearning.

An innovative producer whose career included significant work for artists as diverse as Janis Ian, Vanilla Fudge, the New York Dolls and the Dixie Cups, George "Shadow" Morton was the most gifted of the many imitators of Phil Spector's celebrated Wall Of Sound. His most successful recordings were those he made with the Shangri-Las, the girl group he built from two pairs of siblings, Mary-Ann and Margie Ganser and Betty and Mary Weiss, basing the group's sound around the latter's weeping lead vocals, which seemed lost and forlorn amidst the cavernous reverb of songs like their debut hit "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" and the brooding late masterpiece "I Can Never Go Home Anymore." In Morton's hands, Spector's "teenage symphonies" became melodramatic vignettes of teenage street life, a doomed landscape of sexual anxiety, glamorous rebellion and romantic yearning tricked out with sound effects like the revving motorcycle that introduces "Leader Of The Pack," the group's biggest hit and an acknowledged pop classic.