'60s girl group is back with stamp of approval

Tribute: Local resident among those to be honored by the U.S. Postal Service

April 18, 2002|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

When Peggy Davison first began singing in elementary school, she never dreamed she someday would be on a postage stamp - not even after making it big as one of the most successful girl groups of the early 1960s.

But Aug. 22, Davison, who lives in Carroll County, and the other members of the Angels - the group best known for "My Boyfriend's Back," a No. 1 song in 1963 - will be at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland when a series of stamps honoring famous girl groups will be unveiled.

The Angels, which included sisters Barbara and Phyllis "Jiggs" Allbut, were part of a phenomenon of girl groups that rose to fame in the late 1950s and flourished in the 1960s, according to the Web site, the History of Rock `N' Roll. Other girl groups included the Shirelles, the Chiffons, the Ronettes and the Supremes.

FOR THE RECORD - In Thursday's Carroll County edition of The Sun, a headline on an article about a collectible series of stamps honoring girl groups of the 1960s incorrectly stated the stamps' issuer. The stamps will be issued by several foreign countries and will be available for sale in the United States.
The Sun regrets the error.

Davison, lead singer for the group and now in her late 50s, made the stamp announcement yesterday at an arts program and luncheon sponsored by Carroll County Arts Council in Westminster.

"Mary Wilson of the Supremes has worked on this for four years," Davison said, referring to the stamps. "A portion of the proceeds will go to the children and grandchildren of Florence Ballard, one of the original Supremes."

Despite her success with the Supremes, Ballard died impoverished in 1976.

For Davison, the stamp represents more than popular music success. It means something more, something close to her heart: friendship.

"Mary embodies the idea of friendship, which is what the whole idea of the girl groups means," Davison said. "Our friendship comes first, even with Barbara, who hasn't performed with the Angels since the 1970s. We were best friends then and we still are."

For the unveiling, Davison said she and the Allbut sisters would reunite for a jam session with other girl groups featured on the stamps. The Angels' picture shows the girls with lop-sided beehive hairdos, Davison said, laughing.

Davison - then Peggy Santiglia - joined the group in late 1962, and, according to a biography of the group on the All-Music Guide Web site, gave "the trio a tougher sound." "My Boyfriend's Back" was their biggest single, although they scored minor hits with "Thank You and Goodnight," and "Wow Wow Wee (He's the Boy for Me)." Their first hit was the ballad "Till."

The group recorded three albums, but almost 40 years later, they are best known for "Boyfriend."

During the program, Davison recalled her career and displayed mementos of her early days in rock 'n' roll.

Before the Angels, Davison, who originally was from New Jersey, sang with two school friends as the Delicates.

Her first musical success occurred when she and a girlfriend cut school to hop a bus to New York to see disc jockey Murray "the K" Kaufman. She was 11 years old.

"I listened to him and decided he needed a theme song for his show," she said. "It was snowing and we had sneakers on. We told them we had an appointment with Murray the K and they believed us. They took us in the back and had us sing our little musings, and by the time I got home that night, it was on the air."

Being children, Davison and her friend had no idea people got paid to sing. Later, they found out, but still didn't make the money that performers do today.

But even without the money, Davison and the Angels' history includes performing on shows such as the Tonight Show and the Ed Sullivan Show. Through it all, she remembers how her parents supported her, but didn't push her, an important point in getting youth involved in the arts, she said.

"One reason I'm doing this is that I think we all should support the arts council," she said. "Since I started when I was so young, I see that if these kids are exposed to the arts - anything, not just singing - it will help them in their lives."

Remembering her start, Davison said, "I'm just amazed at how many people gave us an opportunity at so young an age. But if you're not encouraged by adults, it's not going to happen."

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