June 11, 1982 – Addie “Micki” Harris was born Addie Harris McPherson on January 22, 1940 in Passaic, New Jersey. As a founding member of The Shirelles, which originally formed in 1958 in Passaic, New Jersey by Shirley Owens, Alston Reeves, Doris Coley, Kenner Jackson and Beverly Lee, they became a sensation in early doo-wop.
The Shirelles were originally formed in 1957 in Passaic, NJ, by four either 16 or 17 years old high school friends: Doris Coley (later Doris Kenner-Jackson), Addie “Micki” Harris, Shirley Owens (later Shirley Alston), and Beverly Lee. High school students, Beverly Lee and Shirley Owens began singing doo-wop songs together while they were babysitting. Imitating artists like the Flamingos, the two eventually recruited fellow classmates Doris Coley and Addie “Micki” Harris to form a group called the “Poquellos.” Even more so than the male doo-wop they admired, the four modeled their a cappella jams after the Chantels, the first true girl group. After getting caught singing in the school gym, the four were forced to perform at their school’s talent show. Deciding to be different by writing a song of their own, the girls got together and penned “I Met Him on a Sunday.”
Their talent show performance went triumphantly, receiving a standing ovation, and even more important, it got the attention of Mary Jane Greenberg, daughter of Florence Greenberg who owned Tiara, a pea-sized local record company. Greenberg, knew the song was a hit, and although the girls were hesitant at first she eventually got them into the studio to record under the production supervision of her son, Stan Green. The single immediately began to pick up steam in New York, and as airplay began to increase, Greenberg sold the record to Decca for $4000. With this transaction came a name change. Greenberg did not like the Poquellos, so names like the Honeytones and the Chanels were proposed until they eventually combined Shirley’s name with the Chantels coming up with the Shirelles. Their recording of “I Met Him on a Sunday” climbed into the national Top 50 in 1958. “I Met Him on a Sunday” is a landmark single in the girl group genre. Its doo-wop derived “doo-ronde-ronde” chorus is relentlessly catchy, and the lyrics solidified the “boy” as the “mythic figure of the newly forming girl group genre.
They went on to have many hits including “Dedicated to the One I Love”, “Welcome Home Baby”, “Baby It’s You”, “Mama Said”, “Foolish Little Girl”, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, “Sha La La” and “Soldier Boy”.
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked them #76 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” made No.125 and “Tonight’s the Night” No. 401 in Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
On June 11, 1982 Micki Harris died of a heart attack at the age of 42 in the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, just after she finished two performances with The Shirelles at the hotel.
The three remaining charter members recorded together for the last time on a 1983 Dionne Warwick record. Different Shirelles lineups toured the oldies circuit in the ‘90s, though Beverly Lee eventually secured the official trademark. They were officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Doris Kenner-Jackson passed away after a bout with breast cancer in Sacramento on February 4, 2000.