The Three Degrees was loved by non other than H.R.H The Prince of Wales, not sure if that is a plus or not. The group from Philadelphia were formed way back in 1963, but the group did not become successful until the 1970s.
Sheila Ferguson joined the group in 1966 and married an Englishmen in the 70s and has lived in the UK ever since. Along with Valerie Holiday and original member Fayette Pinkney they had the most successful line up of the Three Degrees. In 1971 after a hit single in the U.S the girls appeared in the film The French Connection.
In 1973 they signed to Philadelphia records and in 1974 their first song was as a studio band called MFSB and TSOP. That means Mother Father Sister Brother and The Sound Of Philadelphia, which made No.22 that year in the UK chart.
Also in 1973 they had their first UK top twenty hit under their own name with Year Of Decision. Here they are performing the song on the Cliff Richard Show on BBC1.
But the next single would make the group a super group and generate a song that would be played at thousands of funerals and events throughout the coming decades. When Will I See You Again was a No. 1 hit and was written by Gamble and Huff.
Sheila Ferguson recalled that "the song was played to me by Kenny Gamble at the piano in 1973 and I threw a tantrum. I screamed and yelled and said I would never sing it. I thought it was ridiculously insulting to be given such a simple song and that it took no talent to sing it. We did do it and several million copies later, I realized that he knew more than me."
The follow up never made the top thirty, but in 1975 they had a big chart hit with Take Good Care Of Yourself. But the success of When Will I See You Again was not being copied and the next few singles did not chart at all in the UK or charted low. It was 1978 when the girls rode the disco train with a great dance hit called Giving Up Giving In.
The end of the decade would give the girls two minor hits but three top ten hits. The first top ten hit was Woman In Love reaching No. 3. This was also a hit for Twiggy in the 1970s.
The second top ten hit of that year was The Runner a more disco fast track hit. But the last song of the decade getting as high as No. 9 was My Simple Heart. A great love song to go out on.