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.]