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Subject: Archive: Leonard Lee, Oct. 23, 1976

Singer (Shirley & Lee)
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Date Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 05:11:57pm

Leonard Lee
29 Jun 1936
New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
23 Oct 1976 (aged 40)
New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
Mount Olivet Cemetery and Mausoleum
New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA

R&B/Doo Wop Musician. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Lee formed the popular musical group, 'Shirley & Lee,' with Shirley Goodman (also known as Shirley Mae Goodman-Pixley), in 1951, in there native New Orleans, Louisiana. The two who were born ten days apart in 1936, came to be known as 'The Sweetheart of The Blues.'

The two first met each other as teens. Goodman, who began singing at the age of 9, was a 13 year old singer in a local Baptist church choir, who also sang with a group of school children for a music producer named Cosima Matassa. Together the school children cut a demo called, 'I'm Gone.' Matassa who was immediately impressed with Goodman's voice, sent the demo to Aladdin Records owner Eddie Messner. Also impressed with Goodman's singing he tracked her down and offered her a record deal if she would partner up with a young man by the name of Leonard Lee, a friend of the Messner family. Becoming 'Shirley & Lee,' the two released there debut single, 'I'm Gone,' a re-recording of the school children version, but done more in the tradition of a boy-girl duet that would deeply influential on the development of ska and reggae.

The recording reached the number two spot on the Billboard R&B charts in the fall of 1952. They followed that up with the recordings of, 'Shirley, Come Back To Me,' and 'Shirley's Back.' Throughout the 1950s, they continued there success by touring and backing singers such as James Booker, Huey 'Piano' Smith, and Allen Toussaint. They continued to record as well, releasing, 'Lee Goofed,' 'Confessin,' 'Feel So Good,' and 'Let The Good Times Roll,' which reached the Billboard Hot 100.

After the death of Messner the duo's career began to wane, but they continued to work for the Imperial Record Label (which took over for Aladdin), and the Warwick Imprint Label. In 1961 the duo recorded, 'I've Been Loved Before,' which reached the number 88 spot, but the same year the Warwick Imprint Label folded. In 1963, 'Shirley & Lee,' called it quits. Goodman moved to California where she continued her singing as a vocalist, teaming up with music producer and Jessie Hill on the Wand Record Label to record the song, 'Ivory Tower.

' She continued to record for that Label until it to folded in 1970. She also worked with Brenton Wood on, 'Kid Games,' and 'Nursery Rhymes,' and appeared on the Rolling Stones "Exile On Main St.," before taking a short hiatus. Taking a job as a a switchboard operator for Playboy Magazine, she became involved in music again when she met up with Sylvia Robinson, of the famed duo, 'Mickey & Sylvia.' Goodman flew to New Jersey in 1974, and recorded the song, 'Shame, Shame, Shame,' for Robinson's All Platinum Label. The song became an overnight sensation and reached number 12 on the Billboard Pop Charts, and was one of the first international disco hits.

In 1976, Goodman toured for awhile, but retired from music for good, and returned to New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1979. On October 23, 1976, Lee passed away at the age of 40, following a heart attack, and Goodman passed away from a stroke on July 5, 2005, at the age of 69.

Other recordings by the duo include, 'The Flirt,' 'Korea,' 'Marry Me,' 'True Love (Never Dies),' 'I'll Thrill You,' 'Deed I Do,' 'Baby,' ' Takes Money,' 'Rockin' With The Clock,' 'Bewildered,' 'The Joker,' and 'The Engagement,' among many others.

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"Let The Good Times Roll"Shirley & LeeTuesday, October 23, 05:13:11pm

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