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Shirley Mae Goodman (June 19, 1936 – July 5, 2005) was an American R&B singer who was better remembered as half of the 1950s duet, Shirley and Lee. She enjoyed a revival later in her history with the disco song “Shame, Shame, Shame” during the 1970s.
New Orleans, Louisiana is where Goodman was born. In 1950, she made her first demo with a group of friends while performing in church choirs. Her solitary vocals drew the attention of Aladdin Records owner Eddie Messner, who found and partnered her with another high school acquaintance, Leonard Lee (June 29, 1935 – October 23, 1976).
Shirley and Lee were called “the Sweethearts of the Blues” because they purported to be lovers since childhood in their earliest compositions. However, in 1956, they switched styles and recorded “Let the Good Times Roll,” which went on to represent their best-ever single, hitting #1 on the US R&B chart and #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 list. It received a platinum certification for selling over one million copies.
Although a follow-up song, “I Feel Good” (not to be confused with their 1955 hit “Feel So Good”), also charted, the duo’s subsequent releases were less successful. Shirley and Lee signed with the Warwick label in 1959. In 1963, Goodman and Leonard went their separate ways career-wise.
Goodman was approached by Sylvia Robinson, formerly of the pair Mickey and Sylvia and now co-owner of the All Platinum record company, in 1974 as Shirley Goodman Pixley. She agreed to sing lead on “Shame, Shame, Shame,” a dance hit.
The tune, credited to Shirley & Company, became a worldwide pop smash, peaking at #12 on the Billboard list and heralding the disco era. Shirley and Lee returned on May 17, 1974, for a special “oldies” episode of the NBC musical series The Midnight Special, to sing “Let the Good Times Roll.” She relocated to California upon experiencing a stroke in 1994. Goodman passed away on July 5, 2005, in Los Angeles.
She was laid to rest in New Orleans (a month and a half prior to Hurricane Katrina). Her son is her only heir.