Sunday, January 9, 2022

Josie and the Pussycats - The Real Life Band

In September 1970, Hanna-Barbera launched a new cartoon series called Josie and the Pussycats featuring a group of girl singers who traveled around the world performing gigs and encountering adventures in the process. The show was Hanna-Barbera's own take on Filmation's 1968 musical cartoon sitcom The Archie Show which featured young Archie and his band performing teen-oriented pop tunes each episode. The series was immensely popular ( The Archies' song "Sugar, Sugar" reached #1 in 1969 ) and inspired Hanna-Barbera to launch a number of similarly themed cartoons with musical inserts. 

Unlike The Archie Show, which featured a fictional pop band, Hanna-Barbera hit on the brilliant idea of creating a real-life Josie and the Pussycats band to coincide with their new television series. Three young women would be selected from a nationwide talent search and it would be their voices that the children would hear performing on the show. 

Songwriter and producer Danny Janssen ( who wrote The Partridge Family theme ) and Bobby Engemann ( lead singer of The Lettermen ) of La La Productions were given the task of selecting the girls, writing their songs, and cutting the albums. To help in this task, they recruited Sue Steward as a songwriter and Austin Roberts who is best known for singing the 1975 song "Rocky" but also performed the leads for all of the Scooby-Doo -Where Are You songs. 

Nearly 500 finalists were under consideration before they settled on three girls who not only looked their parts but had fab singing voices, too. These were Kathleen Dougherty, a musical theater major from the University of Southern California; Patrice Holloway, an engaging R&B singer who penned, along with her sister Brenda and Berdy Gordy, the popular tune "You've Made Me So Very Happy" ( performed by Blood, Sweat, and Tears ); and lastly, Cherie Moor, a pretty South Dakota native who had a strong stage presence and a good singing voice. Cherie - born Cheryl Stoppelmoor - later became famous as Kris Monroe on the television series Charlies Angels ( 1977-1981 ) using her married name Cheryl Ladd. 

Kathleen Dougherty is credited as singing the lead character Josie, with Patrice as Valerie and Cheryl as Melody but Kathleen actually preferred singing background harmonies, so Patrice and Cheryl took turns doing the leads for the songs. 

Josie and the Pussycats recorded 19 songs, some of which were released as singles and others that appeared on their 1970 album "Josie and the Pussycats". The band never went on tour and none of their singles became hits but nevertheless, they had a groovy sound, and some of their numbers were really quite good. 

To read more behind-the-scenes stories about Josie and the Pussycats, check out this great article

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  1. What a fun and informative article! Cheryl Ladd had a pleasant singing voice and even scored a Top 40 hit in 1978 with "Think It Over."

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Rick. I had forgotton that Think it Over was one of Cheryl's songs.....she did indeed have a nice voice. And a very pleasant personality, too!