The Lennon Sisters were a singing group consisting of four siblings: Dianne (born December 1, 1939), Peggy (born April 8, 1941), Kathy (born August 2, 1943), and Janet (born June 15, 1946). They were all born in Los Angeles, California.
These singers debuted on The Lawrence Welk Show in 1955 after their school classmate, Larry Welk, son of Lawrence Welk, brought them to the attention of his father. They were a mainstay on the show until they left to start a career of their own in 1968. The quartet was only three members from 1960 to 1964; oldest sister Dianne got married, left the group, and then rejoined them again.
Over the decades, they recorded many albums. Their first album was on Brunswick Records and later on Coral, Dot, Ranwood and Mercury. They have recently released 4 CD volumes of songs taken from their own ABC-TV show.
In 1969, the sisters starred in their own variety show, Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters Hour. Six weeks before the show premiered on August 12, the sisters were forced to deal with the shooting death of their father, William, by a deranged fan, Chet Young (a stalker who believed himself to be married to Peggy and that the father stood in the way and had to be eliminated.) Lying in wait, Young shot Mr. Lennon in the parking lot of the Marina Del Rey golf course and two months later used the same gun to commit suicide. The sisters discovered an unopened letter having a cutout of Bill, a picture of a gun pointed at his head, and the words “High Noon” (the time of the murder.) (Source, Dr. Doreen Orion, I Know You Really Love Me)
In the wake of the murder, The Lennon Sisters Hour lasted one season before it was ended by all four of the girls. In the 1970s, the sisters performed regularly on The Andy Williams Show, and toured with Williams across the country. From 1994 to 2004, the quartet performed as headliners at the Welk Champagne Theater in the Ozark community of Branson, Missouri. When Peggy retired from singing in 1999, younger sister Mimi took her place, and when Dianne left for a second time in 2001, the act became a trio again for the rest of its run in Branson.
They are not related to the former Beatle John Lennon, who died in 1980.
The four original Lennon Sisters wrote their autobiography “Same Song, Separate Voices” which was originally published in 1985 and updated a decade later.
In 2001, The Lennon Sisters were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
The sparkling vocal quartet which graced Lawrence Welk’s weekly television music show from 1955 to 1967, the Lennon Sisters (Dianne, Janet, Peggy and Kathy) grew up in Venice, California, and earned a contract with Coral Records, thanks in large part to Welk. Their first hit, “Tonight You Belong to Me,” reached number 15 in the 1956 charts, followed by the moderate success of “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” almost five years later. After leaving Welk, the Lennon Sisters performed infrequently.
– John Bush