At one time, girl groups used to be all over music. Now, not so much. That’s not to say they don’t exist. But I can hardly think of many (or any) that have crossed my radar, with the exception of Fifth Harmony. I only know of them thanks to my daughter.
But in the late 50s through the early 60s, girl groups were all around. The Shangri-Las, The Chantels, The Shirelles, The Chiffons, and on and on. Once the Beatles arrived, many of those groups found the going a lot tougher. Then came the likes of The Supremes, Martha & The Vandellas and The Marvelettes, out of Motown. Sure they were girl groups, but they were closely identified with the label and the sound they provided.
The rock writer Dave Marsh once said in his book The Heart Of Rock & Soul that today’s Morning Groove was the “last chapter in the girl group story.” While it has the sound of the then-popular Philadelphia International Records house band MFSB behind it, it truly sounds like a song any one of those old girl groups of that bygone era would have sung, and sung proudly.
Today’s Morning Groove is “When Will I See You Again” by The Three Degrees.
By far their biggest hit credited only to themselves (which leaves out MFSB’s TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia) on which they were featured vocalists), “When Will I See You Again” is three minutes of girl group heaven. The song peaked at #2 on the Pop chart and #4 on the R&B chart in 1974. It also proved to be their biggest hit internationally. Though the group did have four top ten R&B hits in the States, they proved to be more popular overseas, where their songs did much better than they did stateside.
In my youth, the group was more famous for appearing on the television show Sanford & Son and for singing on TSOP (which was the theme for the television show Soul Train for a time), than for this song. It was later in life that I learned to appreciate what a beautiful song this is. The Three Degrees formed in 1963 and are still performing today, but not with the original members. The members of the group through their most successful period were Fayette Pinkney, Sheila Ferguson and Valerie Holiday; Holiday joined the group in 1967 and remains with them today. Pinkney passed away in 2009.
I hope you enjoy today’s Morning Groove, and as always thanks for reading and listening.