McGuire Sisters

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The McGuire Sisters
McGuire Sisters.png
McGuire Sisters in 1964
Background information
Origin Middletown, Ohio, United States
Genres Traditional pop
Years active 1952–1968
Past members Christine McGuire
Dorothy McGuire
Phyllis McGuire

The McGuire Sisters were a singing trio in American popular music. The group was composed of three sisters: Christine McGuire (born July 30, 1926); Dorothy McGuire (February 13, 1928 – September 7, 2012); and Phyllis McGuire (born February 14, 1931). Among their most popular songs are "Sincerely" and "Sugartime", both number one hits.[1]

History[edit]

The McGuire sisters were born in Middletown, Ohio[2] and grew up in Miamisburg. Their mother, Lillie, was a minister of the Miamisburg First Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), where, as young girls, they sang in the church at weddings, funerals and church revivals. When they started singing in 1935, the youngest sister, Phyllis, was four years old. Eventually, they sang at occasions outside church and, by 1949, were singing at military bases and veterans' hospitals. They incorporated a more diverse repertoire for those events. Christine has two children, Herold and Asa; Dorothy has two, Rex and David. Phyllis has no children.

Career[edit]

They signed with Coral Records in 1952. That same year they appeared on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, and Godfrey hired them for his other shows, where they remained for seven years. Cosmopolitan's November 1953 issue called them "Godfrey's Merry McGuires". The sisters often were compared to The Andrews Sisters. Maxene Andrews once said during an interview with Joe Franklin on WOR (AM) Radio in 1979, "The McGuire Sisters were fine once they stopped imitating The Andrews Sisters" .

In early McGuire recordings Phyllis' voice almost can be mistaken for that of Patty Andrews'. The McGuires and Andrewses met several times throughout their careers. Phyllis credited Patty, Maxene, and LaVerne during a television interview with Maxene in the 1990s, hosted by Sally Jessy Raphael, saying that she and her sisters met the Andrews Sisters in New York in the early 1950s and received important advice. Much like The Andrews Sisters, the McGuires moved when they sang, often executing dance routines during lavish production numbers on countless television specials (something The Andrews Sisters had originated in films during the 1940s, really becoming the first female vocal group to move when they sang, rather than just standing at a microphone). Phyllis and her sisters mimicked the singing style of The Andrews Sisters, as well as The Mills Brothers and The Dinning Sisters. From very young ages when they would perform short shows for family and friends in their parents' living room. While Phyllis is fond of saying in interviews that she and her sisters did not know any popular songs when they became famous (only the church hymns taught them by their minister mother), the trio often imitated other singing groups long before their success.[3]

They performed for five Presidents of the United States (Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush) and for Queen Elizabeth II. In 1958, their mother appeared as a guest challenger on the television game show To Tell the Truth. The sisters maintained a busy television schedule, making frequent appearances on popular variety hours hosted by Ed Sullivan, Dean Martin, Danny Kaye, Milton Berle, Andy Williams, Perry Como and Red Skelton. The trio was dressed and coiffed identically and performed their synchronized body movements and hand gestures with military precision. Their recordings of "Sincerely," "Picnic," and 1958's "Sugartime" all sold more than one million copies.[2]

They retired from public appearances in 1968, giving their last performance that year on The Ed Sullivan Show. Phyllis McGuire continued to perform solo for a time. The demise of the group is often attributed to Phyllis' long-standing personal relationship with mobster, Sam Giancana (although she has always claimed that their friendship was strictly platonic), which reportedly blacklisted the group. During one of his 1960s court appearances for which Phyllis was subpoenaed, Giancana told reporters outside the courthouse that "Phyllis knows everything" about the rumored, unethical behaviors of John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert. Phyllis has resided in a famously showcased mansion in Las Vegas for decades, boasting its own beauty parlor, a swan moat, and a replica of the Eiffel Tower which actually rose through the home's roof. When asked by Barbara Walters during a 1980s ABC-TV "20/20" interview from within the mansion if any of the money to build the lavish home came from Giancana, Phyllis denied the innuendo, claiming that she invested heavily in oil when the sisters were at the height of their popularity.[3]

The sisters reunited in 1986, performing at Toronto's Royal York Hotel for the first time since their retirement.[4] Numerous nightclub engagements followed in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and New York City's Rainbow & Stars, showcasing the group and Phyllis' impersonations of Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, Pearl Bailey, Ethel Merman and even Louis Armstrong. Singing their greatest hits as part of their act, they were also featured performing specialty numbers like the frantic "I Love a Violin," the a cappella "Danny Boy," and a segment during which Phyllis retired backstage as Christine and Dorothy shared the spotlight playing a concert arrangement of "The Way We Were" on twin pianos. Other highlights in the act were a comical Trinidad-flavored tune, a soft rendering of "Memory" from Broadway's "Cats," and a "Money Medley," which they also performed live on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon in 1994. Since then, the sisters had made occasional public appearances together, including in 2004, when they reunited to perform in a PBS special Magic Moments: Best of '50s Pop.[5][6] It was plain to see on this 2004 program that at least Phyllis underwent some type of plastic surgery (most notably on her lips, which appeared much larger than ever before, even changing her speech), and the sisters' command of their vocal cords and harmonious blend had not significantly diminished.[3]

They were inducted into the National Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1994, and in 2001 they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. They also have been inducted into the Coca-Cola Hall of Fame and the Headliners' Hall of Fame.[7] They were inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009.

After their careers wound down, they opened a restaurant in Bradenton, Florida, calling it McGuire's Pub.[8]

On September 7, 2012, Dorothy McGuire died at her son's home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, after suffering from Parkinson's disease and age-related dementia; she was 84. Dorothy's husband of 54 years, Lowell Williamson, passed away 6 months later on February 25, 2013 after sustaining a fractured back from a fall; he was 89.[9][10]

From time to time there have been rumors that Phyllis would write a tell-all book about her interaction with mobsters and other mysterious aspects of the McGuires, but nothing has come of such rumors to date.

Discography[edit]

Year Single Chart positions
US US
AC
UK[11]
1954 "Pine Tree, Pine Over Me" 26
"Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite" 7
"Muskrat Ramble" 10
"Lonesome Polecat" 28
"Christmas Alphabet" 25
1955 "Sincerely" 1 14
"No More" 17 20
"It May Sound Silly" 11
"Doesn't Anybody Love Me?" flip
"Something's Gotta Give" 5
"Rhythm 'n Blues" flip
"He" 10
"Give Me Love" 95
1956 "Missing" 44
"Picnic" 13
"Delilah Jones" 37 24
"Weary Blues" 32
"In the Alps" 63
"Ev'ry Day of My Life" 37
"Endless" 52
"Goodnight, My Love, Pleasant Dreams" 32
1957 "Sugartime" 1 14
"Ding Dong" 25
1958 "Volare" 80
1959 "May You Always" 11 15
"Summer Dreams" 55
"Peace" 85
1960 "Livin' Dangerously" 97
"The Last Dance" 99
1961 "Just For Old Time's Sake" 20
"Tears On My Pillow" 59 12
"Just Because" 99
1962 "Sugartime Twist" 107
1964 "I Don't Want To Walk Without You" (Phyllis solo) 79 13
1966 "Truer Than You Were" 30

Songs recorded[edit]

  • "Achoo-Cha-Cha" (flip side of "May You Always") (1958)
  • "Are You Looking for a Sweetheart" (flip side of "You Never Know Till Monday") (1953)
  • "Around the World" (flip side of "Interlude") (1957)
  • "Baby Be Good to Me" (flip side of "My Baby's Got Such Loving Ways") (1956)
  • "Banana Split" (flip side of "Sugartime") (1957)
  • "Beginning to Miss You" (flip side of "Rock Bottom") (1957)
  • "Blue Skies" (flip side of "He's Got Time") (1957)
  • "Candy Heart" (flip side of "Dear Heart") (1964)
  • "Christmas Alphabet" (flip side of "Give Me Your Heart for Christmas") (1954)
  • "Cling to Me" (flip side of "Pine Tree, Pine over Me") (1954)
  • "Compromise" (flip side of "Red River Valley") (1959)
  • "Cordially Invited" (flip side of "Summertime (Is the Time for Love)") (1963)
  • "Dear Heart" (flip side of "Candy Heart") (1964)
  • "Delilah Jones" (flip side of "Theme from Picnic") (1956)
  • "Ding Dong" (flip side of "Since You Went Away to School") (1958)
  • "Doesn't Anybody Love Me" (flip side of "It May Sound Silly") (1955)
  • "Don't Take Your Love from Me" (date unknown, flip side unknown)
  • "Do You Love Me Like You Kiss Me" (flip side of "Volare") (1958)
  • "Drowning in Memories" (flip side of "Please Don't Do That to Me") (1957)
  • "Endless" (flip side of "Ev'ry Day of My Life") (1956)
  • "Ev'ry Day of My Life" (flip side of "Endless") (1956)
  • "Forgive Me" (flip side of "Kiss Them for Me") (1957)
  • "Give Me Love" (flip side of "Sweet Song of India") (1955)
  • "Give Me Your Heart for Christmas" (flip side of "Christmas Alphabet") (1954)
  • "Goodnight My Love" (flip side of "Mommy") (1956)
  • "Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite" (flip side of "Heavenly Feeling") (1954)
  • "Goody-Goody"
  • "Grazia" (flip side of "Truer Than You Were") (1966)
  • "Have a Nice Weekend" (flip side of "Some of These Days") (1959)
  • "He" (flip side of "If You Believe") (1955)
  • "Heart" (flip side of "Young and Foolish") (1955)
  • "Hearts of Stone" (flip side of "Naughty Lady of Shady Lane") (1954)
  • "Heavenly Feeling" (flip side of "Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight") (1954)
  • "He's Got Time" (flip side of "Blue Skies") (1957)
  • "Hey Mr. Cotton Picker" (flip side of "Tell Us Where The Good Times Are") (1953)
  • "Honorable Congratulations" (flip side of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town") (1957)
  • "I Can Dream, Can't I?" (flip side of "Time") (1961)
  • "I'd Like to Trim a Tree with You" (flip side of "Littlest Angel") (1955)
  • "I Do I Do I Do" (flip side of "Just Because") (1961)
  • "I Don't Know Why" (flip side of "To Be Loved") (1960)
  • "I Don't Want to Walk Without You" (flip side of "That's Life") (1964)
  • "If It's a Dream" (flip side of "Kiss Me and Kill Me with Love") (1955)
  • "If You Believe" (flip side of "He") (1955)
  • "I Give Thanks" (flip side of "The Unforgiven") (1960)
  • "I'll Think of You" (flip side of "Sweetie Pie") (1958)
  • "I'll Walk Alone" (flip side of "Ticket to Anywhere") (1965)
  • "Interlude" (flip side of "Around the World") (1957)
  • "In the Alps" (flip side of "Weary Blues") (1956)
  • "I Really Don't Want to Know" (flip side of "Mama's Gone Goodbye") (1962)
  • "It May Sound Silly" (flip side of "Doesn't Anybody Love Me") (1955)
  • "Just Because" (flip side of "I Do I Do I Do") (1961)
  • "Just for Old Time's Sake" (flip side of "Really Neat") (1961)
  • "Kid Stuff" (flip side of "Without Him") (1957)
  • "Kiss Me and Kill Me with Love" (flip side of "If It's a Dream") (1955)
  • "Kiss Them for Me" (flip side of "Forgive Me") (1957)
  • "The Last Dance" (flip side of "Nine O'Clock") (1960)
  • "Littlest Angel" (flip side of "I'd Like To Trim a Tree With You") (1955)
  • "Livin' Dangerously" (flip side of "Lovers' Lullaby") (1960)
  • "Lonesome Polecat" (released on two different singles, one with "Uno Due Tre" as the flip side, the other with one version of "Muskrat Ramble" as the flip side) (1954)
  • "Lovers' Lullaby" (flip side of "Livin' Dangerously") (1960)
  • "Mama's Gone Goodbye" (flip side of "I Really Don't Want to Know") (1962)
  • "May You Always" (flip side of "Achoo-Cha-Cha") (1958)
  • "Melody of Love" (flip side of "Open Up Your Heart") (1954)
  • "Missing" (flip side of "Tell Me Now") (1956)
  • "Miss You" (flip side of "Tootle-Loo-Siana") (1952)
  • "Mommy" (flip side of "Goodnight My Love") (1956)
  • "More Hearts are Broken That Way" (flip side of "Sugartime" [remake]) (1962)
  • "Muskrat Ramble" (released on two different singles, one with "Not As a Stranger" as the flip side, the other with one version of "Lonesome Polecat" as the flip side) (1954)
  • "My Baby's Got Such Loving Ways" (flip side of "Baby Be Good to Me") (1956)
  • "My Happiness" (flip side of "Vaya Con Dios") (1966)
  • "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane" (flip side of "Hearts of Stone") (1954)
  • "Never" (flip side of "Now and Forever") (1964)
  • "Nine O'Clock" (flip side of "The Last Dance") (1960)
  • "No More" (flip side of "Sincerely") (1954)
  • "Not as a Stranger" (flip side of one version of "Muskrat Ramble") (1954)
  • "Now and Forever" (flip side of "Never") (1964)
  • "One Two Three Four" (flip side of "Picking Sweethearts") (1952)
  • "Open Up Your Heart" (flip side of "Melody of Love") (1954)
  • "Peace" (flip side of "Summer Dreams") (1959)
  • "Picking Sweethearts" (flip side of "One Two Three Four") (1952)
  • "Theme from Picnic" (flip side of "Delilah Jones") (1956)
  • "Pine Tree, Pine over Me" (flip side of "Cling to Me") (1954)
  • "Please Don't Do That To Me" (flip side of "Drowning In Memories") (1957)
  • "Really Neat" (flip side of "Just for Old Time's Sake") (1961)
  • "Red River Valley" (flip side of "Compromise") (1959)
  • "Rhythm and Blues" (flip side of "Something's Gotta Give") (1955)
  • "Rock Bottom" (flip side of "Beginning to Miss You") (1957)
  • "Run to My Arms" (flip side of "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place") (1965)
  • "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" (flip side of "Honorable Congratulations") (1957)
  • "Shuffle Off to Buffalo"
  • "Sincerely" (flip side of "No More") (1954)
  • "Since You Went Away to School" (flip side of "Ding Dong") (1958)
  • "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place" (flip side of "Run to My Arms") (1965)
  • "Some of These Days" (flip side of "Have a Nice Weekend") (1959)
  • "Something's Gotta Give" (flip side of "Rhythm And Blues") (1955)
  • "Space Ship" (flip side of "Tears on My Pillow") (1961)
  • "Sugartime" (flip side of "Banana Split") (1957)
  • "Sugartime" (remake) (flip side of "More Hearts are Broken That Way") (1962)
  • "Summer Dreams" (flip side of "Peace") (1959)
  • "Summertime (Is the Time for Love)" (flip side of "Cordially Invited") (1963)
  • "Sweetie Pie" (flip side of "I'll Think of You") (1958)
  • "Sweet Song of India" (flip side of "Give Me Love]") (1955)
  • "Teach Me Tonight"
  • "Tears on My Pillow" (flip side of "Space Ship") (1961)
  • "Tell Me Now" (flip side of "Missing") (1956)
  • "Tell Us Where the Good Times Are" (flip side of "Hey Mr. Cotton Picker") (1953)
  • "That's Life" (flip side of "I Don't Want To Walk Without You") (1964)
  • "Ticket to Anywhere" (flip side of "I'll Walk Alone") (1965)
  • "Time" (flip side of "I Can Dream, Can't I?") (1961)
  • "To Be Loved" (flip side of "I Don't Know Why") (1960)
  • "Tootle-Loo-Siana" (flip side of "Miss You") (1952)
  • "Truer Than You Were" (flip side of "Grazia") (1966)
  • "The Unforgiven" (flip side of "I Give Thanks") (1960)
  • "Uno Due Tre" (flip side of one version of "Lonesome Polecat") (1954)
  • "Vaya Con Dios" (flip side of "My Happiness") (1966)
  • "Volare (flip side of "Do You Love Me Like You Kiss Me") (1958)
  • "Weary Blues" (flip side of "In the Alps") (1956)
  • "Without Him" (flip side of "Kid Stuff") (1957)
  • "You Never Know Till Monday" (flip side of "Are You Looking for a Sweetheart?") (1953)
  • "Young and Foolish" (flip side of "Heart") (1955)
  • "You're Driving Me Crazy"

In popular culture[edit]

The McGuire Sisters, and most especially Phyllis McGuire, who lives in Las Vegas, were the subjects of the 1995 HBO movie Sugartime, which depicted a romantic relationship between Phyllis and mobster Sam Giancana. Giancana was played by actor John Turturro, and Phyllis was played by actress Mary-Louise Parker.

References[edit]

  1. ^ McGuire Sisters official Web site
  2. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 75. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  3. ^ a b c Sforza, John: "Swing It! The Andrews Sisters Story;" University Press of Kentucky, 2000; 289 pages.
  4. ^ [PEOPLE magazine, "The Mcguire Sisters, Those Sugartime Princesses of Pop, Have Reunited After a 17-Year Split," March 3, 1986]
  5. ^ "Magic Moments: Best of '50s Pop" PBS special
  6. ^ Musician Guide, "The McGuire Sisters Biography"
  7. ^ AZCentral.com article, "50th anniversary party reunites legendary trio," by Kathy Shayna Shocket, 12/10/2008
  8. ^ "The McGuire Sisters". answers.com. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Christe, Bob. "Dorothy McGuire of McGuire Sisters dies at 84". Associated Press. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  10. ^ 5:27PM BST 11 Sep 2012 (2012-09-11). "Dorothy McGuire". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  11. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 339. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]