Three Degrees singer’s not Giving Up, Giving In ahead of Stevenage date
PUBLISHED: 21:33 10 February 2011 | UPDATED: 21:47 10 February 2011
THE Three Degrees return to Hertfordshire later this month and ahead of the trio’s concert date in Stevenage, Welwyn Hatfield Times reporter Ross Logan spoke to long-standing group member Helen Scott.
IT is the day of The Three Degrees’ first UK tour date, and Helen Scott, the only member still performing with the group since their early days in the 60s, is in high spirits.
“I think all three of us are looking forward to it,” she says, chirpily.
“We got here on Tuesday, and we’ve been rehearsing, and doing lots of press stuff. We’ve hit the ground running.”
It’s a well known fact that The Three Degrees are, officially, the longest running female vocal group in history.
"When I was a full-time mother, never did I anticipate coming back to the same group."
They are also, arguably, one of the most reinvented. In their 40 plus years, The Three Degrees have undergone no less than 10 line-up changes – with Helen herself currently enjoying her second stint as a group member.
Since 1989, the line-up has consisted of Helen, Valerie Holiday and Cynthia Garrison. Of those, only Helen was in the group when they first started out, although she doesn’t consider herself the longest serving member.
“Val’s regarded as the longest standing member,” Helen says.
“She’s remained the whole time, while I left to have a family.”
Starting out in Philadelphia in 1963, the first ever line-up consisted of Fayette Pinkney, Linda Turner and Shirley Poole.
Helen joined in the same year, along with Janet Harmon, replacing Linda and Shirley, and they had their first hit with Gee Baby in 1965.
But the following year, Helen left the group to concentrate on raising her newborn children.
“When I was a full-time mother, never did I anticipate coming back to the same group,” she says.
“When I left I never thought about going back to singing. I left and I thought that was it.
“They asked me back twice but I thought the children were still too small.
“It wasn’t like it is now when you go on tour – you couldn’t take your whole family and a massive entourage with you. And you couldn’t go on stage when you’re pregnant, with a big belly, it just didn’t happen.”
Helen was eventually coaxed back onto the stage by Sheila Ferguson, who had originally replaced her in the group, after 10 years away.
“I sat down and had a chat with my parents and they said they would take responsibility for my kids.
“They were at school by then, so I had done all the ground work.”
Now 62, and with seven grandchildren and one great grandchild, performing has lost none of its appeal for Helen, and fans at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage on Friday, February 25 can expect to hear the likes of When Will I See You Again, Take Good Care of Yourself and Giving Up, Giving In.
“We have to do the things we think are the most popular” she says.
“We try to include the things that we think most people want to hear. But we only have a certain amount of time, and you can’t pick everybody’s favourite.
“It’s not possible!”
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