THE THREE DEGREES
The Three Degrees was formed in 1977 in Philadelphia. Although 15 women have been members over the years, the group has always been a trio. The original members were Fayette Pinkney, Shirley Porter and Linda Turner. The current line-up consists of Valerie Holiday, Helen Scott and Freddi Poole.
Holiday has been a member since she first joined in 1967, while Scott has been a permanent member since 1976, having been in the group from 1963 to 1966. The group were particularly successful in the UK, achieving 13 Top 50 hit singles between 1974 and 1985.
By 1970, they were signed to Roulette Records and they released their first album, Maybe.In 1973, when their contract with Roulette ended, Barrett signed them to Philadelphia International Records under Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, where they had their greatest successes. The first song they recorded for the label was with the studio band MFSB, titled "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)", which was the theme song for Soul Train.
Their first album for the Philadelphia International label, The Three Degrees, spawned three hits: "Dirty Ol' Man" (which went gold in the Netherlands and Belgium), "Year Of Decision" (which made it to #13 in the UK Singles Chart), but it was the third single, "When Will I See You Again", that propelled the trio into the mainstream. It topped the UK Chart for two weeks in August 1974 (the first time this had been achieved by an all-female group since The Supremes in 1964) and became the fourth best-selling single of the year.
In 1978, The Three Degrees signed to Ariola Records in Europe and the US and began working with Giorgio Moroder, who had become famous as a disco producer following his work with Donna Summer.The group performed for Prince Charles at his 30th birthday party in 1978, and were guests at the pre-wedding party for his marriage to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. Their own television special, The Three Degrees at The Royal Albert Hall (aka An Evening with The Three Degrees), was recorded in October 1979 in which the trio were backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Between 1982 and 1985, The Three Degrees released two albums on their own 3D label; Album of Love and Live in the UK. On that label they also released "Liar", a single written by Sheila Ferguson.
In 2008 the group released the album Helen, Valerie, Cynthia: The Greatest Hits, which included completely new recordings of the group's biggest hits and some fan favourites.
The group, together with founder member Fayette Pinkney, received various honours during 2007 and 2008, through BEMA (The Black Entertainment and Music Association) and the City of Philadelphia for their contribution to music over five decades, creating, for the first time, The Four Degrees.
Fayette Pinkney died on June 27, 2009, in Lansdale Hospital, Pennsylvania, after a short illness, at the age of 61.
In 2009 the group released their first studio album in over ten years, Undercover 2009. It contained a selection of eight cover versions of classic songs by ABBA, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and Bee Gees. The following year they released a new single "Holding Back".
In January 2011, Freddie Pool replaced Cynthia Garrison, who was suffering from Piriformis syndrome, as the Degrees had touring commitments to fulfill.
In 2016 The Three degrees released their first full-length studio album with member Freddie Pool entitled Strategy: Our Tribute To Philadelphia, through Cherry Red Records.
The Holiday/Scott/Garrison version of The Three Degrees was the longest running formation of the group (1989–2010).