Shirley Goodman

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Shirley Goodman
Birth nameShirley Mae Goodman
Also known asShirley Goodman Pixley
Born(1936-06-19)June 19, 1936
New Orleans, Louisiana, US
DiedJuly 5, 2005(2005-07-05) (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California, US
GenresPop, R&B, disco
Years active1950 – late 1960s
1974 – late 1970s
LabelsAladdin, Warwick, Vibration
Associated actsShirley & Lee
Shirley and Company

Shirley Mae Goodman (June 19, 1936 – July 5, 2005) was an American R&B singer, best known as one half of Shirley and Lee, a 1950s duo. Later in her career, she had a resurgence with the disco hit "Shame, Shame, Shame" in the 1970s.


Goodman was born in New Orleans. After singing in church choirs, she recorded her first demo with a group of friends in 1950. Some months later, her solo voice caught the attention of Aladdin Records owner Eddie Messner, who tracked her down and paired her as a duo with another school friend, Leonard Lee (June 29, 1935 – October 23, 1976).[1]

As 'Shirley & Lee', they recorded their debut single "I’m Gone", produced by Cosimo Matassa, which reached #2 on the Billboard R&B charts in 1952. The record contrasted Goodman’s soprano with Leonard's baritone, in a way in which subsequent songwriters have suggested was influential on the development of ska and reggae.

In their early songs, they pretended as if they were sweethearts and were dubbed "the Sweethearts of the Blues". However, they changed style in 1956 and recorded "Let the Good Times Roll", which became their biggest hit single reaching #1 on the US R&B chart and #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[2] Although a follow-up single, "I Feel Good" (not to be confused with their 1955 single "Feel So Good"), also made the charts, the duo’s later releases were less successful, and the pair moved to the Warwick label in 1959.[3] Goodman and Leonard split up in 1963. Leonard made some subsequent solo records with little success.

In the mid 1960s, Goodman moved to California, where she worked as a session singer on records by Sonny and Cher, Dr. John and others, and also formed a duo for a time with Jessie Hill. She sang backing vocals on The Rolling StonesExile On Main Street album, but then briefly retired from the music industry.

On October 15, 1971, Shirley & Lee were reunited for one show only at the Madison Square Garden in New York City. The playbill included musicians of the early rock era, including Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and Bobby Rydell.[4]

Later in 1974, as Shirley Goodman Pixley, she was contacted by her friend Sylvia Robinson, previously of the duo Mickey and Sylvia and now co-owner of the All Platinum record label, and was persuaded to record the lead vocal on a dance track, "Shame, Shame, Shame". Credited to Shirley & Company, the record became an international pop hit, reaching #12 on the Billboard chart and presaging the disco boom. On May 17, 1974, Shirley & Lee reunited once again to perform "Let the Good Times Roll" on a special "oldies" edition of the NBC musical series The Midnight Special.

After a few further recordings and tours, Goodman finally retired from the music industry after returning to New Orleans in the late 1970s.

In 1976, Leonard Lee, who had become a social worker, died of a heart attack, aged 40.[5]

Post career[edit]

After suffering a stroke in 1994, she moved to California, and died on July 5, 2005, in Los Angeles.[6] She was buried in New Orleans (a month and a half before Hurricane Katrina). She is survived by her son.

Chart singles[edit]

Shirley & Lee[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions
US Pop[7] US
1952 "I'm Gone" - 2 -
1955 "Feel So Good" - 2 -
1956 "Let The Good Times Roll" 20 1 -
"I Feel Good" 38 3 -
1957 "When I Saw You" - 14 -
1960 "I've Been Loved Before" 88 - -
"Let The Good Times Roll"
48 - -
1961 "Well-A, Well-A" 77 - -

Shirley and Company[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions
US Pop[7] US
1975 "Shame, Shame, Shame" 12 1 6
"Cry Cry Cry" 91 38 -
1976 "I Like To Dance"
featuring Peppi Marchello
- 91 -


  1. ^ Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 180. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  2. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 86. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  3. ^ Obituary, Juke Blues no. 59, 2005, p. 68.
  4. ^ Shirley & Lee. Liner Notes. The Imperial Sides 1962/1963. Imperial Records, 1986. LP Re-issue.
  5. ^ "Shirley Goodman". Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  6. ^ Clayson, Alan (September 27, 2005). "Obituary: Shirley Goodman". Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 637. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  8. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 398.
  9. ^ a b Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 698. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.

External links[edit]