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Lillian Briggs

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Lillian Briggs (b. Lillian Biggs, June 3, 1932 - d. Apr. 11, 1998) was the first female American Rock & Roll performer to achieve super star staus at the dawn of the genre. Billboard Magazine initially crowned her “The Queen of Rock & Roll” at the same time Elvis was “The King”.

Lillian Briggs was raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In the early 1950s she worked as a truck driver and played trombone in the band she formed called The Downbeats. In 1952 she joined Joy Cayler’s All-Girl Orchestra.

In 1954 she was discovered by talent manager, Jack Petrill, and she left Cayler to begin a solo career. During the same year, Alan Freed asked her to appear in his New York City stage shows, and her popularity in these shows led to her signing with Epic Records in 1954. Her first single was 1955’s “I Want You to Be My Baby”; the song sold over 1 million copies[1] and hit #18 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2]

Following this she headlined in concert venues all over the world and became a staple on the Talk Show circuit, appearing on The Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Steve Allen Show, American Bandstand and many more. Lillian Briggs won a part in the 1961 Jerry Lewis movie The Ladies Man.

In 1965 she appeared as a contestant on What’s My Line?, notable because at the time, she was giving trombone lessons to one of the show’s panelists, Arlene Francis.[3]

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