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Mary Weiss, singer of hit-making The Shangri-Las, dies at 75

Mary Weiss, the Queens-born lead singer of the hit-making 1960s girl group the Shangri-Las, has died at age 75, her representative confirmed.

A cause of death was not released for Weiss, whose New York-bred band is known for songs such as “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” and the chart-topping “Leader of the Pack.”

“She was as charming and charismatic as an adult as she was as a teenage idol,” Norton Records’ Miriam Linna told People. “A true star.”

Norton Records did not immediately respond to a Daily News request for comment.

Born in Queens’ Cambria Heights neighborhood, Weiss got her start as a child singing in choirs and musicals. She launched The Shangri-Las with her sister, Betty Weiss, and their classmates Marge and Mary Ann Ganser in 1963 out of Andrew Jackson High School and quickly earned a following through local performances.

The group originally signed with Kama Sutra Records, and later Red Bird Records in 1964 when Weiss was 15. It was with Red Bird that the Shangri-Las released their breakthrough hit, “Remember (Walking in the Sand),” a brooding heartbreak anthem for which an up-and-coming Billy Joel played on an original demo.

Released in 1964, the song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard singles chart. Later that year, The Shangri-Las released “Leader of the Pack,” which became their lone No. 1 hit, unseating The Supremes’ “Baby Love” for the top spot on the Nov. 28, 1964, chart.

The Shangri-Las found mainstream success during an era largely dominated by British acts like the Rolling Stones, whom the Shangri-Las toured with as an opening act in 1964.

The girl group’s other hits included “I Can Never Go Home Anymore,” which rose to No. 6 on the singles chart, and “Give Him a Great Big Kiss,” which peaked at No. 18.

Weiss largely stepped away from the music industry following that success in the 1960s before returning with her first and only solo album, “Dangerous Game,” in 2007.

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