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Lest We Forget

Posted on February 4, 1999

Doris Kenner Jackson

Member of The Shirelles

1939-1999

Doris Kenner-Jackson of the pop-rock group the Shirelles, whose soaring harmonies on “Soldier Boy” and a number of other songs brought huge success in the early 1960s, died Friday, February 4th at age 58. Jackson, who had breast cancer, died at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, her cousin Evelyn Jackson said from her home in Goldsboro, N.C. The Shirelles, composed of Jackson, Shirley Alston Reeves, Beverly Lee and the late Addie “Micki” Harris, began their career at a high school talent show in Passaic, N.J., in 1957, singing their own composition, “I Met Him on Sunday.” A classmate who heard them told her mother, independent record producer Florence Greenberg, who helped them record the song the following year. Aided by legendary producer Phil Specter,they turned out a string of hits through the early ’60s, including “Tonight’s The Night,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” “Soldier Boy,” “BabyIt’s You,” and “Dedicated to the One I Love,” the latter featuring Jackson on lead vocal. Their songs, like those of several other popular “girl groups” of the early ’60s including Specter’s Ronettes, were notable for their tight harmonies, bouncy upbeat lyrics and lush musical arrangements known as Specter’s “Wall of Sound.” Jackson, who was born in North Carolina, moved to New Jersey as a child, where she sang in church and with friends. After their early success with “I Met Him on Sunday,” all four of the group dropped out of high school to pursue their musical careers, each earning diplomas later.

On a personal note, Greene County Gold fans were able to not only hear Doris sing, but many were able to meet her and get an autograph after Rock ‘N’ Oldies Celebration ’99. I had the distinct pleasure of not only interviewing Ms. Jackson by phone for Greene County Gold, but also to talk with her at length after the show. She was a wonderful woman who was high on life. We will miss her.

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