Shirley Goodman  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Shirley Goodman (born Shirley Mae Goodman, 19 June 1936, New Orleans, Louisiana, died 5 July 2005, Los Angeles, California) was an American R&B singer known best for Shirley and Lee, a 1950s R&B duo. Later in her career, she had a resurgence with the disco hit, "Shame, Shame, Shame" in the 1970s.


After singing in church choirs, she recorded her first demo with a group of friends in 1950. Some months later, her solo voice caught the attention of Aladdin Records owner Eddie Messner, who tracked her down and paired her as a duo with another school friend, Leonard Lee (29 June 1936 – 23 October 1976).

As 'Shirley & Lee', they recorded their debut single "I’m Gone", produced by Cosimo Matassa, which reached #2 on the Billboard R&B charts in 1952. The record contrasted Goodman’s soprano with Leonard's baritone, in a way in which subsequent songwriters have suggested was influential on the development of ska and reggae.

In their early songs, they pretended as if they were sweethearts and were dubbed "the Sweethearts of the Blues". However, they changed style in 1956 and recorded "Let the Good Times Roll", which became their biggest hit single reaching #1 on the US R&B chart and #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Although a follow-up single, "I Feel Good" (not to be confused with their 1955 single "Feel So Good"), also made the charts, the duo’s later releases were less successful, and Goodman and Leonard split up in 1962. Leonard made some subsequent solo records with little success.

In the mid 1960s, Goodman moved to California, where she worked as a session singer on records by Sonny and Cher, Dr. John and others, and also formed a duo for a time with Jessie Hill. She sang backing vocals on The Rolling StonesExile On Main Street album, but then briefly retired from the music industry.

Later in 1974, as Shirley Goodman Pixley, she was contacted by her friend Sylvia Robinson, previously of the duo Mickey and Sylvia and now co-owner of the All Platinum record label, and was persuaded to record the lead vocal on a dance track, "Shame, Shame, Shame". Credited to Shirley & Company, the record became an international pop hit, reaching #12 on the Billboard chart and presaging the disco boom. After a few further recordings and tours, Goodman finally retired from the music industry after returning to New Orleans in the late 1970s.

In 1976, Leonard Lee, who had become a social worker, died of a heart attack, aged 40.

Post career

After suffering a stroke in 1994, she moved to California, and died on 5 July 2005 in Los Angeles. She was buried in New Orleans (a month and a half before Hurricane Katrina hit). She is survived by her son.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Shirley Goodman" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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