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The Three Degrees

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Philadelphia, United States (1963 – present)

The Three Degrees are a female Philadelphia and vocal musical group, formed in 1963 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although it has always had a three-girl lineup, the group has undergone numerous personnel changes, and a total of twelve women have represented the trio so far. The original members were Fayette Pinkney, Shirley Porter and Linda Turner. The trio, tagged by the media as “Prince Charles’ favourites”, were the first girl group to top the UK Singles Chart since The Supremes in 1964. They are best known for their 1974 million-selling hit, When Will I See You Again.

1960s
The Three Degrees (aka the Twelve Degrees) were formed around 1963 in Philadelphia. They were discovered by producer and songwriter, Richard Barrett. Barrett was responsible for groups of the 1950s such as The Chantels, Little Anthony and the Imperials, and The Valentines. Barrett recorded the original lineup on their first song, “Gee Baby (I’m Sorry)”, for Swan Records. Turner and Porter both left the group and were replaced by Helen Scott and a string of other ladies, before Janet Harmon joined in the mid-1960s. Barrett also began managing and producing Sheila Ferguson who was a high school friend of Scott. Barrett also signed Ferguson to Swan Records in 1965. The Three Degrees released a number of singles such as “I’m Gonna Need You” and a cover version of “Maybe”, with Scott taking the lead vocals.

By 1966, with many performances lined up, Scott decided to leave the group to start a family. Ferguson filled in for Scott and would remain with the group for 20 years. Ferguson sang backup on all the group’s Swan recordings as did the Three Degrees for her solo singles.

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