Queen of Pop
As the curtain rises on the musical Baby It’s You!, music critic Jody Rosen discusses its subject, Florence Greenberg, the New Jersey housewife behind the Shirelles and Dionne Warwick
In the late 1950s, Florence Greenberg was a housewife in Passaic, N.J., with an itch to get into the music business. A tip from her daughters led her to a quartet of young African-American singers. Under Greenberg’s tutelage, the women became the legendary Shirelles, the group behind such hits as “I Met Him on a Sunday” and “Dedicated to the One I Love.” Greenberg’s name in the business was made. She formed three record labels—Tiara, Scepter, and Wand—and had a hand in the successes of talents including Dionne Warwick and the Isley Brothers.
As the curtain rises on Baby It’s You, a new musical celebrating Greenberg’s life and work, Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry speaks with Slate Magazine music critic Jody Rosen about the obstacles Greenberg might have faced as a pioneering woman, about her ability to identify voices and styles that others didn’t think America was quite ready for, and about the real meaning of the song “Say a Little Prayer for You.” [Running time: 20:05.]
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