Beverley Sisters

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The Beverley Sisters
Genres Traditional popular music
Years active 1944–2000s
Labels Columbia, Philips, Decca
Members Joy (born Joycelyn V. Chinery)
Teddie (born Hazel P. Chinery)
Babs (born Babette P. Chinery)

The Beverley Sisters are a British female vocal trio, most popular during the 1950s and 1960s. The trio comprises eldest sister Joy (born Joycelyn V. Chinery, 5 May 1924),[nb 1][2] and the twins, Teddie (born Hazel P. Chinery, 5 May 1927) and Babs (born Babette P. Chinery, 5 May 1927).[3] Their style is loosely modelled on that of their American counterpart The Andrews Sisters. Their notable successes have included "Sisters", "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and "Little Drummer Boy".[4]

Career[edit]

They were all born in Bethnal Green, London, the daughters of George Arthur Chinery and Victoria Alice Miles (married 1916), who were known as the music hall act 'Coram and Mills',[5] and are related to the Lupino family of theatre performers.[6] They were evacuated to Northampton in the Second World War, and, after starting work as typists,[7] auditioned successfully to take part in an advertising campaign for the malt drink Ovaltine.[8] Photographer Jock Ware encouraged them to audition for BBC Radio. They did so in November 1944, and met Glenn Miller who – shortly before his disappearance – offered them the opportunity to record with members of his orchestra.[9] They first appeared in programmes for the Allied Expeditionary Forces, recorded in Bedford.[10]

Immediately after the war they toured with Eric Winstone and his Orchestra,[6] and began making regular appearances on the BBC's early television programmes. They also performed for NBC in the US with surviving members of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. After their return to Britain, promoter Val Parnell booked them to appear at the London Palladium with Gracie Fields; although Fields refused, without explanation, to appear with them, the following year they performed with Danny Kaye. The BBC gave them their own television series, initially called Three Little Girls on View but later renamed as Those Beverley Sisters, which ran for seven years and on which they gave live performances of popular songs of the day.[4]

In 1951 they signed a recording deal with the UK Columbia record label, later moving to the Philips and Decca labels before returning to Columbia in 1960. Their biggest hits on the UK singles chart were versions of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" (no.6, 1953) and "Little Drummer Boy" (no.6, 1959),[11] which were both Christmas hits.[4] In 1956, their version of the traditional song "Greensleeves", orchestrated by Roland Shaw, became their only US chart hit, reaching no.41 on the Billboard pop chart.[5][12] Generally preferring live cabaret and television appearances over recording work,[5] the song "Sisters", written by Irving Berlin and originally recorded in 1954 by Rosemary Clooney and her sister Betty, became their theme song;[4] it has been claimed that Berlin wrote the song for the Beverley Sisters.[9]

The Sisters are widely credited as having been the highest paid female entertainers in the UK for more than 20 years.[8][9] In 1952, 1958 and 1978, they appeared at the Royal Variety Performance.[13][14][15] In January 1961, they appeared on the radio show, Desert Island Discs.[16] They also appeared on the television show, Stars on Sunday.[17]

Their career was revitalised in the 1980s, after their children - who had begun performing together as the Foxes - invited them onstage at the London Hippodrome, encouraged by club owner Peter Stringfellow. The three Sisters began performing again for British troops, as well as in gay clubs in Britain, and they produced a new album, Sparkle. They performed as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002, and toured with Max Bygraves that year, the 50th anniversary of their appearance at the Royal Variety Performance. They also took part in the D-Day 60th anniversary memorial concerts in 2004.[4][5][8]

The Sisters entered the Guinness World Records in 2002, as the world's longest surviving vocal group without a change in the original line up.[18] As recently as 2009, the Beverley Sisters appeared in concerts and matinee shows in the United Kingdom. They forged links with the Burma Star Association, as well as McCarthy & Stone, where the Sisters were invited to open each new housing development designed specifically for retired people. However, they are now fully retired, and live close to each other in Barnet.[9]

Personal lives and honours[edit]

Joy married Billy Wright on 28 July 1958 at Poole Register Office; Wright was the first footballer to play for England 100 times. They were married for 36 years until Billy died of cancer in September 1994.[19]

In the 2006 New Year Honours list they were each awarded an MBE.[8]

Discography[edit]

Chart singles[edit]

Year Title UK Singles Chart[20] US Pop[12] Label
1953 "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" 6 - Philips
1956 "Willie Can" 23 - Decca
1956 "Greensleeves" - 41 London
1957 "I Dreamed" 24 - Decca
1959 "Little Drummer Boy" 6 - Decca
1959 "Little Donkey" 14 - Decca
1960 "Green Fields" 29 - Columbia

Albums[edit]

  • A Date With The Bevs (Philips, 1955)
  • The Enchanting Beverley Sisters (Columbia, 1960)
  • Those Beverley Sisters (Decca, 1960)
  • The World of the Beverley Sisters (Decca, 1961)
  • Together (EMI, 1985)
  • Sparkle (K-Tel, 1985)
  • Sisters, Sisters: An Evening with the Beverley Sisters (Pickwick, 1993)
  • Bless 'Em All (Pickwick, 1995)

[5][21]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Although many sources give later years for their births, official records show 1924 and 1927, and Joy confirmed her age as 87 in a 2011 interview. All three sisters share the same birthday.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Neil Bonner. "Whatever Happened to .... The Beverley Sisters". 163.photobucket.com. Retrieved 2014-05-01. 
  2. ^ England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005, Joycelyn V. Chinery, Ancestry.com.. Retrieved 24 April 2014
  3. ^ England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005, Hazel P. Chinery, Ancestry.com.. Retrieved 24 April 2014
  4. ^ a b c d e Sharon Mawer. "The Beverley Sisters | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Omnibus Press, 2011
  6. ^ a b Cyrus Andrews, Radio Who's Who, Pendulum Publications, 1947
  7. ^ Roland Taylor, "Miller's mighty Service Band: the ensemble in focus", BigBandLibrary.com. Retrieved 25 April 2014
  8. ^ a b c d Entertainment : Beverley Sisters' years in limelight. BBC News (2005-12-31). Retrieved on 2013-10-22.
  9. ^ a b c d Sophie Kummer, "Showbiz sisters are still high-kicking", Barnet & Potters Bar Times, 26 May 2004. Retrieved 25 April 2014
  10. ^ David Fowler, The BBC in Bedford during World War II. Retrieved 25 April 2014
  11. ^ Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 73. ISBN 0-00-717931-6. 
  12. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 56. ISBN 0-89820-155-1. 
  13. ^ "Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund / 1952, London Palladium". EABF. 1952-11-03. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  14. ^ "Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund / 1958, London Coliseum". EABF. 1958-11-03. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  15. ^ "Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund / 1978, London Palladium". EABF. 1978-11-13. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  16. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Beverley Sisters". Bbc.co.uk. 1961-01-16. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  17. ^ "Stars on Sunday". IMDb. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "Biography for The Beverley Sisters". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2013-01-22. 
  19. ^ Matches of the Day: How footballing marriages of yesterday compare to Coleen and Wayne's lavish nuptials - Showbiz - Evening Standard. Thisislondon.co.uk (2008-06-11). Retrieved on 2012-05-03.
  20. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 55. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  21. ^ "The Beverley Sisters". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-05-01.