THE LENNON SISTERS
CELEBRATE 60 YEARS IN SHOW BUSINESS!
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As one of the most acclaimed, admired and longest performing
female vocal groups in popular music, The Lennon Sisters are
entertainment icons who have captivated audiences with their
legendary harmonies throughout a dazzling 60 year career!
First finding success as singing television stars when they were
mere children ranging in ages from 9 to 16, The Lennon Sisters
literally grew up in the public eye and rose to fame as recording
artists, and vibrant live performers throughout the United States.
They are honored to be the only female vocal group to have
performed for seven United States’ Presidents - Eisenhower,
Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. They have a
star on the world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, and are inductees
in the National Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
The Lennon Sisters were recently showcased in the PBS television special Sister Acts (My Music) co-hosted by group member Kathy Lennon. A newly remastered CD collection of their classic recordings titled The Lennon Sisters Favorite Songs has been released in conjunction with the new PBS special, and memorabilia chronicling their career is now on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.
In celebration of their 60th year in show business, The Lennon Sisters (Kathy, Janet and Mimi) are embarking on a special year long multi-city concert tour beginning on November 1 with a 6 week residency at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center and Theatre in Branson, Missouri for a Christmas show marking their 22nd consecutive year of annual artist residency in Branson. For their special Christmas shows the Lennon Sisters will be joined by another famous singing family -- The Osmond Brothers -- and by another generation of performing Lennon's -- Janet’s three beautiful singing and dancing granddaughters.
America first fell in love with the four little girls from Venice, California known as The Lennon Sisters on Dec. 24, 1955 on TV’s The Lawrence Welk Show (younger sister Mimi was born that same year.) Every week for 13 years the original quartet of sisters, Dianne, Peggy, Kathy and Janet, charmed the nation with their performances on the series thru 1968. The combination of their extraordinary natural vocal harmonies, hard-working professionalism, striking looks, unassuming personalities and strong family values earned them a place in the hearts of millions of fans nationwide. That's why, as youngsters, they were dubbed "America's Sweethearts of Song," and they’re still greatly admired today.
Concurrent with their work on the Welk Show, the Sisters began a concert career, traveling extensively during their summers off from school to make record-breaking personal appearances and performances throughout the heartland and in every major U.S. city, both with the Welk Orchestra and as solo artists.
They also embarked on a successful recording career upon the release of their first album, Let’s Get Acquainted. Their early singles “Tonight You Belong to Me” and “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” were Billboard chart hits, and subsequent albums including The Lennon Sisters Sing Twelve Great Hits, On the Groovy Side, Somethin’ Stupid and The Lennon Sisters Today made them a frequent presence on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart while spawning turntable favorites including “This Is My Song,” “Till,” and “I’m Coming Back to You.” It was also during this period that the group became a trio when, in 1960, eldest sibling Dianne got married and took a 4 year hiatus to concentrate on starting her own family before returning to the group in 1964.
The Lennon Sisters’ albums and single recordings paired their lush vocals with the top producers, arrangers and musicians of the day, and featured backing by members of the fabled cadre of Los Angeles musicians known as “The Wrecking Crew” and acclaimed producer Snuff Garrett. Their two holiday albums, Christmas with the Lennon Sisters and Noel remain perennial bestsellers on CD and digital download, and their recorded work continues to appear within a variety of film and television projects, including Johnny Depp’s Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas and the Matthew Broderick, Danny DeVito film Deck the Halls.
The Lennon Sisters ever growing popularity was also fueled by their appearances on the covers of over 400 movie and TV fan magazines. Fans from around the world eagerly followed every perceived detail of The Lennon Sisters personal and professional lives through countless pictorials and articles chronicling their TV and concert appearances, their weddings and the births of their children. Their fan magazine appearances placed them amongst the ranks of the most popular personalities of the day including The Beatles, Jacqueline Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor.
On television, they’ve made over 150 guest appearances on virtually every variety and talk show, including The Mickey Mouse Club, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Hollywood Palace, the Today show, Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, The Mike Douglas Show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, The Merv Griffin Show and The Cher Show, amongst others.
They starred in their first very own TV special in 1969 for ABC simply called The Lennon Sisters Show. It was one of the top-rated entertainment specials of that year and earned the Sisters their own musical variety series on the network: Jimmy Durante presents The Lennon Sisters Hour.
Their variety series, which paired the talented young stars with show business legend Jimmy Durante, proved a sparkling showcase for the Sisters’ vocal, dancing and comedic talents. During its run, the show attracted such top name guest stars as Andy Williams, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bob Hope, Perry Como, George Burns, Desi Arnaz, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Dinah Shore, The Lettermen, Joey Bishop, Bobby Goldsboro, Merle Haggard, Wayne Newton, Martha Raye, Danny Thomas, Mel Tormé, Glen Campbell, Jerry Lewis, Jack Jones, Leslie Uggams and the Osmonds.
Unfortunately, it was also during this time that the Sisters were faced with one of the darkest chapters of their entire lives. On August 12, 1969, their father, 54 year old William (Bill) Lennon, was shot and killed by a demented fan who had stalked the Lennon family for several years. This tragic event, just a few days after the infamous Tate-LaBianca/Manson murders, drew national attention and a police manhunt ensued to find the killer. The Lennon Sisters and their families were sequestered to their homes under 24-hour police protection for several weeks. Though they continued to fulfill the contractual obligations of their TV series, they would tape subsequent episodes on a completely closed set without a studio audience and stopped all other personal appearances. The killer was eventually found 2 months later in the trunk of an abandoned car filled with Lennon Sisters’ fan magazines. He had taken his own life. This is one of the first ever and most tragic celebrity stalking/murder incidents on record.
After months of being away from the public, it was only with their friend Andy Williams’ persuasion and his promise to insure they were safe that the Sisters carefully chose to appear live on stage again. They joined Andy as regular special guests on his TV series The Andy Williams Show and performed with him live in concert for nearly a decade. Their critically acclaimed performances at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, where the Sisters premiered a new elaborately staged and sophisticated concert act, propelled them to the top ranks of U.S. live performers.
Fans were thrilled that “America's Sweethearts of Song” had persevered through their tragedy and emerged as sophisticated ladies, transformed before the nation’s eyes. They were singing better than ever with increasingly intricate harmonies and sensitive interpretations of the works of such classic composers of the Great American Songbook as Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, and George and Ira Gershwin. Their shows also included new solo numbers reflecting their individual styles and personalities.
This transformation was documented in their quartet-authored memoir, Same Song, Separate Voices. The book gives the public new insight into the unique, personal struggles each has faced and the challenges of four distinct individuals whose blend as a single unit is the charm of their professional identity and success. In 2011 a musical documentary, based on their book and with the same name, was produced for public television Polly O. Entertainment. It features a plethora of new and classic performances, rare home movies and new interviews with all 5 performing sisters Dianne (“Dee Dee”), Peggy, Kathy, Janet and Mimi. It aired on PBS stations nationwide and is also available on DVD exclusively at Lennon Sisters concerts.
In 1994, The Lennon Sisters came full circle with the Welk “family of performers” becoming the featured headliners at the newly constructed Lawrence Welk Champagne Theatre in Branson, Missouri. They were in residence at the 2,200 seat theater annually for 17 seasons, marking them as the longest performing entity in that venue, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area and helping to establish Branson as an entertainment mecca. The Lennon Sisters happily incorporated many additional family members into their shows at The Champagne Theatre including their own children and some of their siblings like younger sister Mimi Lennon as well as brothers Dan, Bill and Joe Lennon, known as The Lennon Brothers.
Then in 1999, after more than 40 years of performing, Peggy Lennon decided to retire from the group. Younger sister Mimi was asked to join the quartet as a permanent Lennon Sister with Dianne (“Dee Dee”), Kathy, and Janet. As a child, many Lennon fans may recall enjoying Mimi, a natural comedienne, performing as a temporary Lennon Sister (subbing for one sister or another) from 1970-1975 on The American Music Awards, and The Mac Davis Show, and in several concerts at the Circle Star Theater in San Francisco and with Andy Williams at Caesar’s Palace and the Sahara in Tahoe. As a child Mimi appeared numerous times on television with her sisters and the entire Lennon family and, as an adult, performed for several years with her sisters at the Champagne Theatre in Branson throughout the 1990s.
In 2001, the eldest of the Sisters, Dianne, also decided to retire and the group once again became a trio with Kathy, Janet and Mimi. But that trademark Lennon sound continued without change. It’s a fine testament to the group’s brilliant musicality, their refined interpretive skills, and the innate charm that infuses all of their performances.
The trio has continued to bring their distinct harmonies and their multi-media concert showcase to theaters across the country over the past 15 years and annually with their Christmas residency in Branson, MO. Since younger sister Mimi joined the group, they’ve been inducted into the National Vocal Group Hall of Fame and have released two CD’s The Lennon Sisters Now! Live in Branson and Christmas with the Lennon Sisters at the Moon River Theatre plus a new concert DVD also called Christmas with the Lennon Sisters at the Moon River Theatre. They’ve also returned to performing in top showrooms of Las Vegas.
The Lennon Sisters classic performances on The Lawrence Welk Show still re-air weekly on many PBS stations nationwide delighting fans both old and new. And they remain in the pop culture pantheon with mentions on such top shows as ABC’s The Middle and as “answers” on Jeopardy and Family Feud, Trivial Pursuit and in several crossword puzzles including TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times and People magazine.
In a career marked by extraordinary achievement The Lennon Sisters continue to solidify their reputation as entertainment legends by attracting new generations of fans across the decades. Whether you enjoy them in concert, on television, on YouTube or through their recordings, when their voices combine in that unforgettable familial blend you understand why their stardom has endured for 60 years.
© 2016 Lennon Sisters Productions, Inc.