Published on Jul 29, 2012
The Vernons Girls were an English musical ensemble of female vocalists. They were formed at the Vernons football pools company in the 1950s in Liverpool, settling down to a sixteen strong choir and recorded an album of standardsAs a 16-piece vocal group, The Vernon Girls appeared on the ITV show Oh Boy! with the house band between 1958-1959, and made a series of relatively successful singles for labels Parlophone between 1958-1961. Their 1958 LP released on Parlophone was arranged and conducted by Peter Knight, with sleeve notes by Eamonn Andrews. This record is significantly different from their later pop hits, featuring such fifties standards as "We'll Gather Lilacs", "Lonely Ballerina", and the "Cuckoo In the Clock".
Led by Maureen Kennedy, from 1961 the group reduced their membership to between three and five members,, and by 1962 had signed to Decca Records where they recorded covers of American hits. Their cover of The Drifters' "Lover Please" and "You Know What I Mean" were both hits; the latter was also originally the 'b' side of "Lover Please". In the U.S. the group charted with the first Beatles tribute album there, We Love The Beatles. As The Carefrees, they also charted with "We Love You Beatles", and made an album only available in the United States.
As session singers for Decca, the Vernons Girls were the female backing voices on many hit singles during the 1960s - one of the first being Billy Fury's "Maybe Tomorrow". The trio of Jean Owen, Frances Lea, and Maureen Kennedy also appeared on film in the 1964 TV special Around The Beatles with The Beatles plus Long John Baldry, P. J. Proby and Millie Small, in the Billy Fury film, Play It Cool, and in Just For Fun; ex-member Vicky Haseman also appeared in this, with her group, The Breakaways.
However, by 1964, their chart successes had halted and they disbanded.
Some of the girls continued in show business ventures:
Lyn Cornell married session drummer Andy White, (notable for replacing Ringo Starr on an early take of "Love Me Do"), and became a successful solo performer; having a chart hit with the title song to the film "Never On Sunday" in 1960 - and later becoming one of The Pearls.
Vicky Haseman formed The Breakaways, and married Joe Brown. Their daughter Sam Brown is a well-known singer in her own right.
Baker married Marty Wilde - they formed a trio with Justin Hayward called the 'Wilde Three', and were the parents of singer Kim Wilde.
Jean Owen had solo success under the name Samantha Jones.
Other members of the group banded together in various combinations as duets and singing trios; these include the 'Redmond Twins', 'The Pearls', the 'Two Tones' and the 'DeLaine Sisters'. The 'DeLaine Sisters' had a minor hit in Great Britain with the Goffin & King song "It Might As Well Rain Until September".
The longest surviving and best known of the groups, The Ladybirds, was formed by Maggie Stredder with Gloria George. The Ladybirds are best known for their long association with The Benny Hill Show, and for performing the backing vocals on BBC television's Top of the Pops. They performed the backing vocals on Jimi Hendrix Experience first single, "Hey Joe". 
More recently, Stredder and Sheila Bruce, together with ex-Ladybird Penny Lister, have performed on tour with their friends as part of the 'Solid Gold Rock 'n' Roll Show'. In the later 1990s, they appeared in Cliff Richard's show, 'Oh Boy', from the Wembley Arena.
Main personnel Maggie Stredder (born Margaret Elizabeth Stredder, 9 January 1936, Birkenhead) - later in The Ladybirds - married writer Roy Tuvey Vicki Brown (born Victoria Mary Haseman, 23 August 1940, Liverpool - died 1992) - later in The Breakaways - married Joe Brown Joyce Smith (born Joyce Baker, 1941) - married Marty Wilde Lyn Cornell - later in The Pearls - married Andy White Maureen Kennedy - married comedian Mike Hope - died in a car accident in the early 1970s  Jean Owen (born 17 November 1943, Liverpool) - performed under her real name with the group before going solo and changing her name into Samantha Jones. She married her long term adviser, showbiz accountant Jose Goumal] Frances Lea Eileen Byrne - (born in 1934, in Bootle, Liverpool, died in 1981 from breast cancer). She married Bill Homewood. Ann O'Brien (Simmons) - later in The Pearls Sybil Richardson -still singing and performing in 2011
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