Sunday, October 02, 2011

Like The Beatles, Except Topless Girls

The huge success of The Beatles during the 60's helped to spur a huge wave of wanna-be acts, including a number of all-girl groups. One such New Jersey based new all-girl music group wanted to be noticed, so developed their own shtick of performing concerts topless in the period around 1964-68. The Ladybirds were even featured in a rare cameo segment in the film, THE WILD WILD WORLD OF JAYNE MANSFIELD. They were one of the most controversial of all the Beatles wanna-be acts of the era.

Apparently, performing topless concerts was also controversial with law enforcement as well, especially with stricter indecency and obscenity standards on the East Coast, so The Ladybirds moved their act to the West, where they could more openly play concerts in places like Las Vegas where they were often billed as a more burlesque-type act. Apparently, while they attracted some audience attention, record companies must have declined to sign the act, as no recordings are known to exist of the act other than some video footage despite the fact that the group's members, all girls 22-24, were known as pretty good musicians. Fans of the act continue to this day though, and do sell some reprints of a publicity photo of the band on Ebay.

And to further complicate The Ladybirds strange footnote place in musical history, there was apparently another act with the very same name from Sweden who performed in Europe from around 1968-1973. This act's shtick was also to perform their set topless, wearing only leather bikini pants. At the end of their set, the girls would often remove their bikini bottoms and thank their audience giving their mostly male audience fans a nice full frontal farewell. During at least one show, one male audience fan of the band made off with one of the girl's leather bikini bottoms as a souvenir of the show, leaving one girl with no costume for her next show.

The Beatles sure had many strange wanna-be imitators, but few acts were as strange as The Ladybirds, the most bizarre of all acts who attempted to climb to fame during the mid60's until the early 70's. But, The Ladybirds made a good effort, putting their breast foot forward it seems. And likely, Ringo never looked as good without a shirt either.

(Uncensored photos of these acts are available over at the Wizbang Pop website today).