German trio Die Crazy Girls never quite made it, despite teaming up with garage rockers the Javalins for two singles and releasing a high-camp version of The Shangri-Las’ classic Leader of the pack.
The group comprised Rosi Rohr, Gretel Kästel (known as Grit) and Dutch singer Ans Plevier. They met in the Botho-Lucas-Chor, a successful vocal ensemble that is best remembered for its early 1960s hits Berliner Polka, on the Columbia label, and Danke, on Electrola.
The girls remained on the Columbia label, where they were produced by Paul Kuhn, a 1950s singer, pianist and bandleader.
He promptly teamed them one of his other acts, Dutch-based beat group The Javalins, from Java (hence the spelling), on the 1963 single, Hey hey ha ha. The song, though no classic, has gone on to find popularity with fans of the garage sound. On the B-side was Joe, der Gitarrenmann, a version of Duane Eddy’s Dance with the guitar man.
The single was also released in the Netherlands and in the US. It didn’t set the charts alight, but Kuhn persevered, encouraging the two groups back into the studio for a second single, Hully-Gully-Hop, a version of The Ran-Dells’ The Martian hop, though the release was credited to Die Crazy Girls alone. The B-side was a version of US girl group The Cookies’ Don’t say nothin’ bad about my baby, Lass sie reden.
In 1965, the girls got to record their first single without the boys. The Ventures’ instrumental Walk don’t run was given lyrics and released as Lass dir Zeit. The B-side was the curiously titled No words slop.
The single flopped but was quickly followed by what is regarded by aficionados as the group’s finest moment: Der Feuerstuhl. With its fusion of the German language with the motorcycle effect-laden New York sound, the song, a note-for-note cover of The Shangri-Las’ “death disc” classic Leader of the pack, knocked the original into a cocked hat for campness. (And Das geht niemand etwas an was its strong B-side.)
The group recorded one further single, Uns’re Welt ist die grosse Stadt (with Das ist leichter gesagt als getan on the flip), before disbanding.
Rosi joined the Günther-Kallmann-Chor, while the others went on to pursue solo projects.
With thanks to Jens Keller for additional sound files.