1957 Shepherd Sisters – Alone (Why Must I Be Alone)
Morty Craft was born in 1920 and played saxophone and clarinet in some big bands. He began arranging as well and became an A&R man for a series of record companies beginning in the forties. He owned Melba Records, which put out the top ten R&B hit Church Bells May Ring by the Willows in 1956. He then started Lance Records.
Sisters Martha, Gayle, and Mary Lou Shepherds grew up in Middletown, Ohio, and began singing together in the mid-fifties. Another sister, Judy, eventually joined in. Morty saw the group when they appeared on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. He began producing records for the group on the Melba label.
Dick Clark liked their first recording and invited the singers to perform on American Bandstand. Even with multiple appearances on the show, their first two recordings failed to do well.
Morty and his wife had written the song Alone, and he produced a recording for the Shepherd Sisters. The single reached #18 on the Hot 100 in 1957.
The group’s single also did well in the UK, where it reached #14. A cover version by future British superstar Petula Clark did even better; it reached #8 on the UK chart in 1957.
The Four Seasons also recorded a version of Alone. After a series of hit records beginning in 1962, the group moved from Vee Jay Records to Phillips in 1964. With both labels releasing records by the group that year, the group landed in the top forty on the Hot 100 seven times that year. Their version of Alone peaked at #28 in 1964, the last of their top forty singles for Vee Jay.
The Shepherd Sisters kept recording through at least 1964, although their only other entry on the Hot 100 reached #94 in 1963. The group toured with Alan Freed, played in nightclubs, sang in Las Vegas, and even sang in other countries around the world.
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