Cynthia Garrison, long time member of the Three Degrees, dies

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    We are sad to pass on the news of the passing of Cynthia Garrison, known as one-third of the legendary soul music act The Three Degrees.

    In announcing Garrison’s passing on Facebook, group member Valerie Holiday wrote: Her personality made her a great friend and work colleague! We kept in touch thru the years, we laughed at each other’s stories, shared our thoughts and problems. I’m going to miss my friend, but she no longer is suffering, and for that I am glad.Condolences to her family, know that she was loved.

    Garrison joined the Three Degrees in 1989, after their big hitmaking days were done, but when they continued as a big concert draw around the world. She remained with the group for more than two decades, in the longest lasting lineup of that historic trio.

    We are sad to pass on the news of the passing of Cynthia Garrison, known as one-third of the legendary soul music act The Three Degrees.

    In announcing Garrison’s passing on Facebook, group member Valerie Holiday wrote: Her personality made her a great friend and work colleague! We kept in touch thru the years, we laughed at each other’s stories, shared our thoughts and problems. I’m going to miss my friend, but she no longer is suffering, and for that I am glad.Condolences to her family, know that she was loved.

    Garrison joined the Three Degrees in 1989, after their big hitmaking days were done, but when they continued as a big concert draw around the world. She remained with the group for more than two decades, in the longest lasting lineup of that historic trio.

    Back in 1963, Fayette Pinckney, Linda Turner, Shirley Poole, then in their early teens, were brought together by veteran writer/producer Richard Barrett as the vehicles for his vision of creating the next great girl group.  Turner and Poole were quickly replaced by Helen Scott and Janet Harmon, and Barrett began the process of molding the trio into a regional favorite, training them extensively and booking them at record shops and talent contests throughout the Eastern United States.

    The group was signed by Philly-based Swan Records in the mid-60s and scored a regional hit with "Gee Baby," working with a number of great local musicians, some of whom would become the backbone of the Philadelphia soul movement of the 70s. A major career move for the Three Degrees was their signing by Gamble & Huff's up-and-coming Philadelphia International Records in 1972.  They made an immediate splash with the disco hit "Dirty Ol' Man" before joining with MFSB (the Philadelphia International house band) to record the Soul Train theme song "TSOP," which became an across-the-board #1 hit.  They then followed the next year with what would become their signature song, the sophisticated ballad "When Will I See You Again," one of the greatest songs ever to come from Philadelphia, and the group's biggest international hit.

    The Three Degrees continued with moderate success at PIR before moving over to Epic Records in 1975 and then to Ariola.  During the next decade their success in the U.S. was limited but they became bigger than ever in the U.K., where they continued to score with hits such as "Giving Up, Giving In" and "Woman In Love."  Prince Charles proclaimed them his favorite group (they were guests at his wedding to Princess Diana) and they were consequently labeled by the British Press as "Charlie's Angels." 

    Garrison joined the group in 1989 and performed with Helen Scott and Holiday for 21 years, touring the world several times and enhancing the group's already legendary status before leaving the act in December of 2010 due to health issues. She will be greatly missed.

    By Chris Rizik

    Thanks to SoulTracker Darnea for letting us know

     
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