The McGuire Sisters

The McGuire Sisters were a singing trio in American popular music. They consisted of Christine McGuire (born July 30, 1926), Dorothy McGuire (born February 13, 1928), and Phyllis McGuire (born February 14, 1931).

They were born and grew up in Middletown, Ohio, where their mother was an ordained minister and let them sing in the church as young girls. They sang at weddings, funerals, and church revivals. When they started in 1935, Phyllis was only four years old. Eventually, they sang on other occasions than church-related ones; by 1949, they were singing at military bases and veterans' hospitals. They incorporated a more diverse repertoire for these, extending themselves to more than the hymns they had sung at church.

In 1952, they appeared on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, and as a result, Godfrey hired them for his other shows, where they remained for seven years. 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, as well as appearing on many top television shows. The Coca-Cola company signed them to a contract with the highest fee in advertising history up to that date.

In 1968, they retired from public performance. Phyllis went to a solo act; Dorothy and Christine became totally devoted to their families. Seventeen years later, however, they joined as an act again in response to fans' entreaties.

In 1994, they were inducted into the National Broadcasting Hall of Fame. In 2001, they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. They have also been inducted into the Coca-Cola Hall of Fame and the Headliners' Hall of Fame.

External references

  • McGuire Sisters' page on the National Broadcasting Hall of Fame (http://www.infoage.org/NBHF-mcguire-sisters.html) site
  • McGuire Sisters' page on the Primarily A Cappella (http://www.singers.com/jazz/vintage/mcguire.html) site
  • McGuire Sisters' page on the Vocal Group Hall of Fame (http://www.vghf.com/Inductees/mcguire_sisters.htm) site
  • Cincinnati Enquirer article on the sisters' home (http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/07/27/loc_mcguires27.html)

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In 2001, they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. They have also been inducted into the Coca-Cola Hall of Fame and the Headliners' Hall of Fame. As of 2005, Nilsson's final album, tentatively titled Papa's Got a Brown New Robe, has never been released. In 1994, they were inducted into the National Broadcasting Hall of Fame. A little over a month later, the 2-CD anthology he worked on with RCA Victor, Personal Best, was released. Seventeen years later, however, they joined as an act again in response to fans' entreaties. He completed the vocal tracks for the album on 15 January 1994, and then died that night of heart failure. Phyllis went to a solo act; Dorothy and Christine became totally devoted to their families. After surviving that, he began pressing his old label, RCA Victor, to release a boxed-set retrospective of his career, and also started recording again, attempting to complete one final album.

In 1968, they retired from public performance. His health was also deteriorating, and in 1993, he suffered a massive heart attack. The Coca-Cola company signed them to a contract with the highest fee in advertising history up to that date. Nilsson found himself in a dire financial situation when his trusted financial adviser embezzled all the money he had ever made as a recording artist. Bush), and for Queen Elizabeth II, as well as appearing on many top television shows. He joined the Coalition to Stop Handgun Violence and begain making public appearances solely to raise money for their cause. W. Nilsson was profoundly affected by the murder of John Lennon in December 1980.

They performed for five Presidents of the United States (Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H. However, Nilsson increasingly began referring to himself as as a "retired musician". In 1952, they appeared on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, and as a result, Godfrey hired them for his other shows, where they remained for seven years. He wrote all the songs for Robert Altman's movie-musical Popeye (1980), and recorded one more album, Flash Harry, which was released in the UK but not in the USA. They incorporated a more diverse repertoire for these, extending themselves to more than the hymns they had sung at church. He wrote a musical play, Zapata, with Perry Botkin, Jr., which got as far as being performed in Connecticut but never moved to Broadway. When they started in 1935, Phyllis was only four years old. Eventually, they sang on other occasions than church-related ones; by 1949, they were singing at military bases and veterans' hospitals. Nilsson's musical work after leaving RCA Victor was sporadic.

They sang at weddings, funerals, and church revivals. This, combined with RCA Victor releasing a Nilsson Greatest Hits collection without consulting him, prompted Nilsson to leave the label. They were born and grew up in Middletown, Ohio, where their mother was an ordained minister and let them sing in the church as young girls. However, the death of Elvis Presley caused RCA Victor to ignore everything except meeting demand for Presley's back catalog, and the promised marketing push never happened. They consisted of Christine McGuire (born July 30, 1926), Dorothy McGuire (born February 13, 1928), and Phyllis McGuire (born February 14, 1931). RCA Victor seemed to agree, and promised Nilsson a substantial marketing campaign for the album. The McGuire Sisters were a singing trio in American popular music. With his voice strong again, and his songs exploring musical territory reminiscent of Harry or The Point!, Nilsson had every right to expect Knnillssonn to be a comeback album.

Cincinnati Enquirer article on the sisters' home (http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/07/27/loc_mcguires27.html). Finally, Nilsson recorded what he later considered to be his favorite album, 1977's Knnillssonn. McGuire Sisters' page on the Vocal Group Hall of Fame (http://www.vghf.com/Inductees/mcguire_sisters.htm) site. Nilsson's voice had mostly recovered by his next release, Duit on Mon Dei (1975), but neither it nor its follow-ups, Sandman and ...That's the Way It Is (both 1976) met with chart success. McGuire Sisters' page on the Primarily A Cappella (http://www.singers.com/jazz/vintage/mcguire.html) site. The resulting album, Pussy Cats, was a shock for listeners who knew Nilsson as one of the best singers of his generation. McGuire Sisters' page on the National Broadcasting Hall of Fame (http://www.infoage.org/NBHF-mcguire-sisters.html) site. To make matters worse, Nilsson ruptured a vocal cord during the sessions for this album, but hid the fact due to fear that Lennon would call a halt to the production.

In a widely publicized incident, they were ejected from the Troubadour in West Hollywood for drunken heckling of the Smothers Brothers. However, their time together in California became known much more for heavy drinking and drug use than it did for musical collaboration. Lennon was intent upon producing Nilsson's next album, much to Nilsson's delight. 1974 found Nilsson back in California, and when John Lennon moved there during his separation from Yoko Ono, the two musicians rekindled their earlier friendship.

(Nilsson fans still await this film's release in some home video format.). The session was filmed, and was broadcast as a television special by the BBC in the UK. While in hindsight, the sessions showcased an extremely talented singer in one of his best performances, this was not the sort of thing that was going to burn up the charts in the 1970s. Performing a selection of pop standards by the likes of Irving Berlin and Kalmar & Ruby, Nilsson sang in front of an orchestra arranged and conducted by veteran Gordon Jenkins in sessions produced by his constant supporter Derek Taylor.

This disregard for commercialism in favor of artistic satisfaction showed itself in Nilsson's next release, A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night (1973). Still, the album did well, and the single "Spaceman" was a Top 40 hit. With lyrics like "I sang my balls off for you, baby", "Roll the world over / And give her a kiss and a feel", and the notorious "You're breaking my heart / You're tearing it apart / So f--k you", Nilsson had travelled far afield from his earlier work. Besides the problem of competing with himself, Nilsson's decision to give free rein to his bawdiness and bluntness on this release alienated some of his earlier, more conservative fan base.

Nilsson followed quickly with Son of Schmilsson (1972), released while its predecessor was still on the charts. The third, "Jump Into the Fire", was raucous, screaming rock and roll, including a drum solo by Derek and the Dominos' Jim Gordon and a bass detuning by Herbie Flowers. The second single was "Coconut", a novelty calypso number. The first was a cover of Badfinger's song, "Without You", featuring a highly emotional arrangement and soaring vocals to match, a performance that was rewarded with Nilsson's second Grammy Award.

Nilsson Schmilsson yielded three hit singles that could not be more stylistically different from each other. Later that year, Nilsson went to England with producer Richard Perry to record what became the most successful album of his career. Nilsson's album of songs from The Point! was well-received, and spawned a hit single, "Me and My Arrow". Nilsson's next project was an animated film, The Point!, created with animation director Fred Wolf, and broadcast on ABC television in 1971.

The resuit, Nilsson Sings Newman (1970), was commercially disappointing but was named Record of the Year by Stereo Review magazine, and provided momemtum to Newman's career. Nilsson was so impressed with Newman's talent that he devoted his entire next album to Newman compositions, with Newman himself playing piano behind Nilsson's multi-tracked vocals. While the album still presented Nilsson as primarily a songwriter, his astute choice of cover material included, this time, a song by a little-known composer named Randy Newman. Nilsson's next album, Harry (1969), was his first to hit the charts, and also provided a Top 40 single with "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City".

The result, "Best Friend", was very popular, but Nilsson never released the song on record. Nilsson was also commissioned at this time to write and perform the theme song for the ABC television series The Courtship of Eddie's Father. Aerial Ballet also contained Nilsson's version of his own composition, "One", which was later taken to the top of the charts by Three Dog Night. A minor hit at the time of release, the song would become extremely popular a year later when it was featured in the film Midnight Cowboy, and would earn Nilsson his first Grammy Award.

Pandemonium Shadow Show was followed in 1968 by Aerial Ballet, an album that included Nilsson's rendition of Fred Neil's song "Everybody's Talkin'". He replied, "Nilsson". Paul was then asked to name his favorite American group. He replied, "Nilsson".

When John Lennon and Paul McCartney held a press conference in 1968 to announce the formation of Apple Corps, John was asked to name his favorite American artist. Some of the albums from Derek Taylor's box eventually ended up with the Beatles themselves, who quickly became Nilsson fans. This may have been helped by the track "You Can't Do That", in which Nilsson covered one Beatles song but added 22 others in the multi-tracked background vocals. With a major-label release, and continued songwriting success (The Monkees had a hit with Nilsson's "Cuddly Toy"), Nilsson finally felt secure enough in the music business to quit his job with the bank. One such insider was Beatles press officer Derek Taylor, who bought an entire box of copies of the album to share this new sound with others.

Music industry insiders were impressed both with the songwriting, and with Nilsson's pure-toned, multi-octave vocals. Nilsson signed with RCA Victor in 1967 and released an album, Pandemonium Shadow Show, which was a critical (if not commercial) success. (Despite this growing success, Nilsson was still working the night shift at the bank.). His recording contract was picked up by Tower Records, who did nothing with it, but his songs were now being recorded by Glen Campbell, Fred Astaire, The Yardbirds, and many other artists.

He also established a relationship with songwriter and publisher Perry Botkin, Jr., who began to find a market for Nilsson's songs. In 1964, Nilsson worked with Phil Spector, writing three songs with him. Another recording, "Donna, I Understand", convinced Mercury Records to offer Nilsson a contract, and release recordings by him under the name Johnny Niles. One, "Baa Baa Blackseep", was released under the pseudonym Bo Pete to some small local airplay.

(Little Richard, upon hearing Nilsson sing, reportedly remarked, "My! You sing good for a white boy!") Marascalco also financed some independent singles by Nilsson. In 1963, Nilsson began to have some early success as a songwriter, working with John Marascalco on a song for Little Richard. Nilsson replied that he had already been paid -- five dollars a track.). (Years later, when Nilsson became famous, Turner decided to release these early recordings, and contacted Nilsson to work out a fair payment.

Turner paid Nilsson five dollars for each track they recorded. Uncle John's singing lessons, along with Nilsson's natural talent, surely helped when he got a job singing demos for songwriter Scott Turner in 1960. His job with the bank was on the night shift, so Nilsson spent his days infiltrating Los Angeles music business offices, making friends and developing connections. He had taken early stabs at performing while he was working at the Paramount, forming a vocal duo with his friend Jerry Smith and singing close harmonies in the style of the Everly Brothers.

As early as 1958, Nilsson was hooked on the new wave of music, especially rhythm and blues artists like Ray Charles. He did so well, in fact, that the bank kept him on even after discovering the lie about his education. (He only made it through 9th grade.) He turned out to have an aptitude for computers, which were just starting to be employed by banks at the time. When the Paramount closed (circa 1960), Nilsson applied for a job at a bank, falsely stating he was a high school graduate on his application.

Due to the poor financial situation of his family, Nilsson worked from an early age, including a job at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles. One relative who turned out to be an important influence on him was his Uncle John, a mechanic in San Bernadino, California, who taught him to sing properly. Harry grew up with his mother Bette Nilsson and his younger half-sister, periodically moving to California or back to New York, and living with a procession of relatives and stepfathers. An autobiographical reference to this is found in the opening to Nilsson's song "1941":.

His father, Harry Edward Nilsson, Jr., abandoned the family three years later. Nilsson was born in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York in 1941. His most well-known recordings are "Without You" and "Everybody's Talkin'". Despite some spectacular successes, including two Grammy Awards, Nilsson's tendency to make broad stylistic jumps from one record to the next and his iconoclastic decisions kept him from capitalizing on those successes.

For most of his recordings, he did not use his first name, and was credited only as Nilsson. Harry Edward Nilsson III (June 15, 1941 - January 15, 1994) was an American songwriter, singer, pianist and guitarist, most popular during the 1960s and 1970s. Dawn Eden, One Last Touch of Nilsson (Goldmine magazine, April 29, 1994). The Girl Next Door (2004) - "Jump Into the Fire".

Around the Bend (2004) - "Daddy's Song". Shanghai Knights (2003) - "One". The Rules of Attraction (2002) - "Without You". Punch-Drunk Love (2002) - "He Needs Me" (Shelley Duvall's version from Popeye).

Riding in Cars with Boys (2001) - "Everything's Got 'Em", "Me and My Arrow". Bridget Jones' Diary (2001) - "Without You". High Fidelity (2000) - "The Moonbeam Song". You've Got Mail (1998) - "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City", "Remember", "The Puppy Song", "Over The Rainbow".

Practical Magic (1998) - "Coconut". The Ice Storm (1997) - "Coconut". Ellen Foster (1997) - "Remember". Angel on My Shoulder (1997).

Casino (1995) - "Without You". Forrest Gump (1994) - "Everybody's Talkin'". Private School for Girls (1993) - "You're Breakin' My Heart". Caroline (animated short, 1993) - "Caroline".

Reservoir Dogs (1992) - "Coconut". Goodfellas (1990) - "Jump Into the Fire". Real Life (1979) - "Jump Into the Fire". All That Jazz (1979) - "Perfect Day".

La Mortadella (1971) - "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City". Dusty and Sweets McGee (1971) - "Don't Leave Me". Me, Myself and I (1992) song "Me, Myself and I" written and performed. The Fisher King (1991) song "How About You" performed.

Camp Candy (TV series, animated, 1989-1991) theme song written, and performed with John Candy. First Impressions (TV series, 1988) theme song co-written, performed. Handgun (1983) song "Lay Down Your Arms" written and performed. Popeye (1980) all songs written.

In God We Trust (1980) new version of "Good For God" performed. The World's Greatest Lover (1978) song "Ain't It Kinda Wonderful" performed. Son of Dracula (1974) actor (lead role), all songs performed. The Point! (1971) story, all songs written and performed.

Jenny (1970) song "Waiting" written and performed. Midnight Cowboy (1969) new version of "Everybody's Talkin'" performed. The Courtship of Eddie's Father (TV series, 1969-1972) theme song written and performed, incidental music. Skidoo (1968) songs written and performed, soundtrack music composer, actor (bit role).

Flash Harry (1980) (not released in USA). Knnillssonn (1977). ...That's the Way It Is (1976). Sandman (1976).

Duit on Mon Dei (1975). Pussy Cats (1974). Son of Dracula (1974). A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night (1973).

Son of Schmilsson (1972). Nilsson Schmilsson (1971). Aerial Pandemonium Ballet (1971). The Point! (1971).

Nilsson Sings Newman (1970). Harry (1969). Skidoo (soundtrack) (1968). Aerial Ballet (1968).

Pandemonium Shadow Show (1967). Spotlight on Nilsson (1966).

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