Shirley & Lee Biography

New Orleans-based duo Shirley Goodman (19 June 1936, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, d. 5 July 2005, Los Angeles, California, USA) and Leonard Lee (b. 29 June 1936, d. 23 October 1976) began recording together in 1952. Billed as ‘The Sweethearts of the Blues’, they enjoyed a series of US R&B hits, including ‘I’m Gone’ (1952) and ‘Feel So Good’ (1955), marked by the juxtaposition between Goodman’s shrill, childlike intonation and Lee’s bluesy counterpoint. In 1956 they crossed over into the US pop Top 20 with ‘Let The Good Times Roll’, a charming, infectious performance, written and arranged by Lee. The song became the first million-seller for Aladdin Records and is now regarded as an R&B standard. Shirley And Lee enjoyed minor hits with ‘I Feel Good’ (1956) and ‘When I Saw You’ (1957), before parting company in 1963.

Goodman moved to California, where she appeared on sessions for producer Harold Battiste and Dr. John, while Lee pursued a low-key solo career. His death in 1976 paradoxically coincided with Goodman’s new-found popularity as leader of Shirley And Company. In the 80s Goodman was living back in New Orleans and began legal proceedings to gain a half share in the royalties from ‘Let The Good Times Roll’ and although successful Lee’s family continued to appeal the decision. Latterly plagued with poor health, Goodman returned to California to live with her son.

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

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