The Three Degrees, at various times, comprised of:
Fayette Pinkney (b. Fayette Regina Pinkney, 10th January 1948, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. d. 27th June 2009, Lansdale, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)
Sheila Ferguson (b. 8th October 1947, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)
Valerie Holiday (b. 2nd December, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)
Helen Scott-Leggins (b. Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.)
Cynthia 'Cindy' (Beaufort) Garrison (b. 3rd March, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)
Miquel Brown (b. Michael Brown, Montreal, Canada)
The Three Degrees were formed around 1963 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The original members were Fayette Pinkney, Shirley Porter and Linda Turner, who were, originally, discovered by the producer and songwriter Richard Barrett (b. 14th July 1933, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. d. 3rd August 2006, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)
the valentines - 1955 (richard barrett - centre)
He was also a performing group member of the Valentines.
gee baby (i'm sorry) b/w do what you're supposed to do - 1964 / gotta draw the line b/w close your eyes - 1965
He recorded the Three Degrees at the Swan imprint in 1965, releasing their debut 45, 'Gee Baby (I'm Sorry)' b/w 'Do What You're Supposed To Do'.
Shirley Porter and Linda Turner both departed shortly afterwards, being replaced by Helen Scott and, (following a few short lived recruits to the group), Jane Harmon.
At this time, Richard Barrett had begun working with another singer called Sheila Ferguson, who was a high school friend of Helen Scott, signing Sheila to the Swan imprint in 1965.
The Three Degrees continued to release 45's during this period, including 'I'm Gonna Need You' b/w 'Just Right For Love' and 'Maybe' b/w 'Yours' (with Fayette singing leads on the 1958 Chantels remake).
The line-up throughout 1965 featured Fayette Pickney, Helen Scott And Janet Jones.
In 1966, Helen Scott decided to leave the group to start a family, leaving a space for Sheila in the group, who began filling in before taking on a more permanent position.
Sheila still released 45's as a solo artist, with the Three Degrees singing backgrounds, the roles reversing on the Degrees own 45's.
In 1967, Jane Harmon left and was replaced by Valerie Holiday.
The Three Degrees sang for various imprints in the Sixties, including Neptune, Bellaphon, ABC, Landa, Metromedia and Warner Brothers.
Neptune Records was owned by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (who would later work with the group), where the group released the single 'What I See' b/w 'Reflections Of Yesterday'.
maybe - 1970 / so much love - 1975 (roulette recordings)
In 1970, the Three Degrees were signed to Roulette Records where they released their first album, entitled 'Maybe', the title song (fronted by Valerie Holiday) took them to number 4 on the U.S. R&B charts.
Further singles followed including, 'I Do Take You' and 'You're The Fool', which led to the release of a second album entitled 'So Much Love'.
The group briefly appeared in the 1971 film, 'The French Connection', and in 1973, with the Roulette contract running it's full course, Richard Barrett signed the group to the Philadelphia International Records label.
Their final Roulette 45 was 'I Won't Let You Go' b/w 'Through Misty Eyes' in 1972.
The Three Degrees were reunited with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff at Philadelphia International, where they achieved immediate success with their first song 'T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)' which became the theme song for the television Soul show Soul Train.
the three degrees - 1974 / international - 1975 / take good care of yourself - 1975 / the three degrees live - 1975
The first album was also successful, and included the hits 'Dirty Ol' Man' b/w 'Can't You See What You're Doing To Me', 'Year Of Decision' b/w 'A Woman Needs A Good Man' (reaching number 13 in the U.K. Singles Chart), and 'When Will I See You Again' b/w 'Year Of Decision', which took the group to another level, topping the U.K. Chart for two weeks during August 1974 and reaching number 2 in the U.S.
The song sold over two million copies, earning the group a gold record.
In 1975, the Degrees released two live albums, recorded in Leicester, United Kingdom, and Tokyo in Japan.
Their second studio album 'The Three Degrees International', was released in several formats and titles.
The set was also called 'With Love', and featured the single 'Take Good Care Of Yourself' b/w 'Here I Am' which reached number 9 in the charts in the UK.
The album was also entitled 'Take Good Care Of Yourself', capitalising on the success of the single.
the three degrees live - 1976 / toast of love - 1976 / standing up for love - 1977 / new dimensions - 1978
The Three Degrees left the Philadelphia International umbrella in 1976, relocating to the Sony/Epic imprints, releasing the album 'Toast Of Love'.
The same year Fayette Pinkney left the group to return to educational studies, and was replaced by a returning Helen Scott.
In 1977, they released the album, 'Standing Up For Love', before another label move to the Ariola Records label.
They began working with Giorgio Moroder, and released two albums on Ariola which realised 4 U.K. Top 20 hits, namely 'The Runner' b/w 'Out Of Love Again', 'My Simple Heart' b/w 'Hot Summer Night', 'Giving Up Giving In', and 'Woman In Love' (2 sides of the same 45).
with prince charles
The Three Degrees performed at Buckingham Palace for Prince Charles's 30th birthday party, and became a favourite group with the Prince.
They also recorded their own television program at the Royal Albert Hall in London, entitled 'The Three Degrees at The Royal Albert Hall' in October 1979.
3 degrees - 1979 / ...and holding - 1989
In the Eighties, the group released two albums on their own 3D imprint, namely 'Album of Love' and 'Live in the UK'.
They charted again in 1985 with 'The Heaven I Need' (produced by Stock/Aitken/Waterman on Supreme Records).
Further television appearances followed in 1982, with 'Take 3 Degrees', which included performances of their greatest hits, along with some of their more contemporary songs from that period.
In 1986, Miquel Brown filled in for Helen Scott whilst she was pregnant.
That year Sheila Ferguson left the group, and was replaced by Vera Brown, and the following year Rhea Harris.
In 1989, Helen Scott and Valerie Holiday had added Victoria Wallace to the groups ranks, releasing an album entitled 'Three Degrees And Holding' for the Ichiban Records label (which featured the 45 'A Tender Lie').
Another change in line-up saw Cynthia Garrison replacing Victoria Wallace, which led to a more consistent group line up than in previous years.
In 1993, they recorded a new version of 'When Will I See You Again' with Thomas Anders from the group Modern Talking.
This association provided three tracks for the subsequent album 'Out of the Past Into the Future', which also saw a label reunification with Ariola Records.
christmas with the three degrees - 2003
A Christmas Album was released in 1998, whilst the trio continued to tour.
The Three Degrees received many awards for their contribution to Black Music throughout 2007 and 2008, including the BEMA-The Black Entertainment and Music Association and the City of Philadelphia for their contribution to music over five decades.
Fayette Pinkney sadly passed away on the 27th of June 2009 in the Lansdale Hospital, Pennsylvania, after a short illness, at the age of 61.
Freddi Poole replaced Cynthia Garrison, who left for health reasons, in January 2011.
one degree - fayette pinckney - 1979 / new kind of medicine - sheila ferguson - 2004
Fayette Pickney released one solo album in 1979, whilst Sheila Ferguson released a solo album in 2004.
Maybe (Roulette Records 1970)
Three Degrees (Philadelphia International Records 1974)
So Much Love (Roulette Records 1975)
International (Philadelphia International Records 1975)
Take Good Care Of Yourself (Philadelphia International Records 1975)
The Three Degrees Live (Philadelphia International Records 1975)
Toast Of Love (Columbia Records 1976)
Three Degrees Live In Japan (Columbia Records 1976)
Standing Up For Love (Epic Records 1977)
The Three Degrees (Ariola Records 1978)
New Dimensions (Ariola Records 1978)
3D (Ariola Records 1979)
Three Degrees And Holding (Ichiban Records 1989)
Christmas With Three Degrees (Disky Records 2003)
One Degree (Chopper Records 1979)
New Kind Of Medicine (D-Group Records 2004)