Video Memories of the Pixies Three
The Pixies Three (shown here as The Pixies) in their second appearance on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour, 1960, in New York City. Group members: Debbie Swisher (L), Kaye McCool (C) and Midge Bollinger (R)..
Aficionados of the "Girl Group Sound" of the 1960's often cite The Pixies Three to reflect the "quintessential" girl group sound of the era: finger snapping, foot stomping, perky girl-next-door, bubble gum-feel-good music.
In 1963, three high school friends (Midge Bollinger, Debby Swisher and Kaye McCool) from Hanover, Pennsylvania, signed a recording contract with Mercury Records. For one full month the group (with Midge on lead, Debby on high and Kaye singing low), rehearsed at the Mercury offices in Philly with producers John Madara and David White. The result of the month's effort was BIRTHDAY PARTY b/w OUR LOVE (written by Kaye), which shot into Billboard's Top 40 with a bullet.
A second set of recording sessions at RecoArt in Philly, gave birth to the Pixies' two-sided smash, COLD COLD WINTER b/w 442 GLENWOOD AVENUE. With both sides of the platter charting at the same time, neither song reached its full chart potential. But record sales were bigger than BIRTHDAY PARTY and the Pixies had another hit. Shortly after the release of their second hit, Midge left the group, Debby took on lead and Bonnie Long, another high school friend, became the new Pixie .
By early 1964, the Pixies Three had become one of the most popular girl groups on the music scene. Mercury decided it was time for an album, PARTY WITH THE PIXIES THREE, recorded in New York. Two cuts were pulled from the album, GEE b/w AFTER THER PARTY, as the next Pixies' 45. Released in March, 1964, this double-sided slice of heaven encountered the over-bearing domination of the British Invasion on the charts. Even so, GEE still managed to hit the top 10 in many regional markets and held a respectable #87 spot in Billboard and #79 in Cashbox.
The next year, the group released two more singles, only one of which broke the top 100. By the end of 1965, after Mercury decided not to renew their contract, the girls went their separate ways.
In 1991, Debby, Bonnie and Kaye reunited for a performance at their 25th high school reunion. They looked for Midge, but couldn't find her. The three ladies began performing again, after a 27 year hiatus.
In 2000, Debby left the group and Midge, recently located, took over lead and the group performed until 2010, when they retired. The Pixies Three released six CD's and numerous compilations in their "second time around" period, which lasted almost 20 years.