Shirley Ellis Biography

New York, New York, USA. Before striking out on a solo career in 1963, Ellis served an apprenticeship singing with an unsuccessful vocal group, the Metronones. Her strong voice was used to good effect on dance-floor ravers ‘The Nitty Gritty’ (number 4 R&B and number 8 pop in 1963) and ‘(That’s) What The Nitty Gritty Is’ (number 14 R&B 1964), and her future looked bright. Ellis, however, soon found herself in novelty song territory with catchy ditties written by her manager Lincoln Chase, namely, ‘The Name Game’ (number 4 R&B and number 3 pop in 1965) and ‘The Clapping Song (Clap Pat Clap Slap)’ (number 16 R&B and number 8 pop in 1965). The latter was the only UK success for Ellis, amazingly hitting twice, in 1965, when it reached number 6, and on an EP in 1978. The Belle Stars successfully revived ‘The Clapping Song’ in 1982.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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