The Lennon Sisters

  (Redirected from Lennon Sisters)

The Lennon Sisters are an American vocal group initially made up of four sisters from a family that had six sisters in all, as well as five brothers. The original quartet consisted of: Dianne (born Dianne Barbara; aka DeeDee; December 1, 1939), Peggy (born Margaret Anne; April 8, 1941), Kathy (born Kathleen Mary; August 2, 1943), and Janet (born Janet Elizabeth; June 15, 1946). All 11 Lennon children were born in Los Angeles, California.

Lennon Sisters
Lennon Sisters.JPG
Lennon Sisters in 1971 and 1955.
1971, from left: Kathy, Janet, Peggy and Dianne;
1955, from left: Janet, Kathy, Peggy, and Dianne
Background information
OriginVenice, California, United States
GenresTraditional pop
Years active1955–present
LabelsBrunswick, Coral, Dot, Mercury, Atlantic, Ranwood, Heartland, Maryco
MembersKathy Lennon
Janet Lennon
Mimi Lennon
Past membersDianne Lennon
Peggy Lennon

For thirteen years, from 1955 to 1968, the group appeared regularly on The Lawrence Welk Show, receiving union scale wages. In 1999, younger sister Mimi (born Miriam Theresa; October 16, 1955) replaced Peggy upon her retirement. Dianne has also since retired. The current line-up of the Lennon Sisters is a trio consisting of Mimi, Janet and Kathy. They continue to tour around the country and appear annually with their Christmas show at The Andy Williams Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri.

The Lennon Sisters were 2001 inductees of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Early lifeEdit

Their parents married in early 1939. Their father, William Herbert Lennon (1915-1969), worked as a milkman for many years before getting a job at a local golf course. Their mother, Isabelle Emily "Sis" (1919-2005) remained at home to care for the needs of her very large family. Sis was the daughter of Reina Ysabella Alvarez Denning and Danforth Denning.[1] Their ancestry was a mixture of Mexican, German, and Irish.[2]

During their formative years, the family lived in Venice, California, in a modest, two-bedroom home. This included two parents, 11 children, and one grandmother. They were and are devout Roman Catholics and attended the Church of St. Mark, which is part of the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Most, or all[clarification needed] of the children attended Catholic school. Throughout the Lennon Sisters' career, their faith has had a major influence/role in both their lives and careers. Many of their songs are either hymns or of a religious or spiritual nature.[3]


The quartet made its television debut on The Lawrence Welk Show on Christmas Eve - December 24, 1955.[4] A high school classmate, Larry Welk, son of Lawrence Welk, brought them to the attention of his father. Welk was at home, sick in bed, when his son brought the sisters in to sing for him. Welk was so impressed that he immediately booked them for that week's show. They were a mainstay on the show until they left to start a career of their own in 1968. The quartet became a trio from 1960 to 1964; eldest sister Dianne married, left the group, and then rejoined. Peggy sang the high harmony part, Kathy the low, and Janet and Dianne sang the middle and lead harmonies. Janet also specialized in barbershop or counter-harmony singing, taught to her by her father (who performed during the big band era in a quartet with his own three brothers). The girls idolized Patti Page's multi-track vocal sound, feeling they achieved something close to her smooth blend in their Dot recording of "Stars Fell On Alabama". Kathy was especially fond of Connie Francis, evident in her solo recording of "Malaguena", which showcased her impressive vocal range. The sisters made no secret that they were huge fans of the innovative, intricate musical stylings of both The Andrews Sisters and The Mills Brothers.[5]

Their first hit, "Tonight, You Belong to Me" reached #15 on the charts in 1956. In 1961, the single, "Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)", (Dot 16255), turned out to be their highest-charting record. It was the only number #1 single of their career, reaching the top of the charts in Japan although only making it to #56 in 1961 on Billboard in the United States. Although much of the group's fame was based on their television appearances, they also recorded frequently for Dot Records in the 1950s and 1960s, producing a dozen albums, featuring their interpretations of well known standards such as "Among My Souvenirs", "Moon River", "Twilight Time", and many others. Some of their best known recordings included "Scarlet Ribbons", "Greensleeves", and Schubert's "Ave Maria". A themed LP entitled Dominique featured the Lennon Sisters with their musically talented siblings and cousins performing a variety of 1960s folk songs, including "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "If I Had My Way (The Sermon of Samson)," and the title track, Dominique. They recorded briefly for Mercury Records after leaving Dot, focusing on more contemporary pop/light-rock fare, such as "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and "Never My Love". Their three most popular albums were Lawrence Welk presents The Lennon Sisters: Best-Loved Catholic Hymns (Dot); Christmas with The Lennon Sisters (Dot); and Noel, their Christmas album for Mercury Records. Their full-bodied, homestyle choral blend was perfect for such yuletide favorites as "Adeste Fideles", "Christmas Island", "Faith of Our Fathers", "The Star Carol", and "Home for the Holidays".[5]

Several souvenir items, such as coloring books, paper dolls and story books featuring the Lennon sisters, were produced.[6]

In 1969, the sisters were set to star in their own variety show, Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters Hour. However on August 12, 1969, six weeks before the premiere, tragedy struck the family. Their father, William Lennon, was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Venice Golf Course in Marina Del Rey where he worked. Mr. Lennon was 53 years old.

The murderer, a delusional stalker named Chet Young, believed himself married to Peggy and was convinced that William Lennon stood in the way of his "marriage" to Peggy and had to be eliminated. Two months later, Young used the same weapon on himself to commit suicide. The sisters discovered an unopened letter containing a cut out of their father, a picture of a gun pointed at his head, and the words "High Noon" (the time of the murder).[7] The sisters were devastated by the death of their father and in the wake of the murder, their new show lasted only one season.

In the 1970s, the sisters performed regularly on The Andy Williams Show, and toured with Williams across the country, including engagements at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. They also appeared on several game shows, including Family Feud, Tattletales, and The Hollywood Squares. From 1994 to 2012, the quartet headlined at the Welk Champagne Theater in 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.[8] They continue to tour across the country and appear annually with their Christmas show at The Andy Williams Moon River Theatre in Branson (marking 20 consecutive years of performing in Branson).

While continuing to play tour dates, Kathy and Janet Lennon have branched out into the toy market, designing and selling a line of "Best Pals" dolls. In addition to the dolls, the sisters have recorded CDs of favorite children's songs for the "Best Pals" line.

The four original Lennon Sisters wrote an autobiography entitled Same Song, Separate Voices, first published in 1985 with a new edition in 1995. A musical documentary based on the book was produced by Polly O. Entertainment and American Public Television in 2011 and aired across the country for several years.[9]

Two of their five brothers, Kipp and Pat Lennon, are members of the band Venice, which also includes their cousins Michael and Mark Lennon.[10]

The Lennon Sisters have frequented The Villages, the world's largest retirement community, for shows. They last performed in The Villages on February 15, 2016.[11]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed The Lennon Sisters among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[12]


Name Birth date Spouse(s)
Dianne December 1, 1939 Dick Gass, m. October 16, 1960 – present, three children
Peggy April 8, 1941 1. Dick Cathcart (1924–1993), m. May 24, 1964, six children
2. Robert Felt (1926-2013), m. July 2, 1995
Kathy August 2, 1943 1. Mahlon Clark (1923–2007), m. June 26, 1967, divorced 1979
2. Jim Daris, m. April 24, 1982 – present
Janet June 15, 1946 1. Lee Bernhardi, m. May 7, 1966, divorced, three children
2. John Bahler, m. September 25, 1976 – present, two children
Mimi October 16, 1955 Danny Macias, m. 5 Nov 1977–present, two children


In 1987 The Lennon Sisters received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1500 Vine Street.[13]

In 2001 The Lennon Sisters were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.[14]



Title Detais Charts
Let's Get Acquainted
  • Label: Brunswick – BL 54031
  • Format: Vinyl, LP, Mono
  • Released: 1957
Lawrence Welk Featuring The Lennon Sisters
  • Label: Coral
  • Format(s): LP (CRL 57262)[15]
  • Released: 1958
Christmas With The Lennon Sisters
  • Label: Dot Records - DLP-25343
  • Format: Vinyl, LP, Stereo
  • Released: 1960
#1 Hits Of The 1960s
  • Label: Dot Records – DLP 25589
  • Format: Vinyl, LP, Stereo
  • Released: 1964
Melody Of Love
  • Label: Hamilton Records-HLP 12119
  • Format: Vinyl, LP
  • Released: 1964
Too Marvelous For Words
  • Label: Vocalion 2 - VL 73864
  • Format: Vinyl, LP, Compilation
  • Released: 1969


Year Title Charts

1956 "Tonight You Belong to Me" (Coral 61701)[17] 15


  1. ^ "Lennon family mother dies in Missouri at age of 85," The Argonaut, 23 June 2005. Retrieved 22 July 2013
  2. ^ "Lennon Sisters". 1987-12-15. Retrieved 2017-08-11.
  3. ^ Source: interview/live performance, 6/18/2013, Home and Family, Hallmark Channel.
  4. ^ "Lennon Sisters". 1969-08-12. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  5. ^ a b Sforza, John: "Swing It! The Andrews Sisters Story;" University Press of Kentucky, 2000; 289 pages.
  6. ^ "The Lennon Sisters : Biography". Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  7. ^ Source, Dr. Doreen Orion, I Know You Really Love Me.
  8. ^ "The Lennon Sisters - Inductees - The Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation". Archived from the original on July 17, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  9. ^ "The Lennon Sisters: Same Song, Separate Voices (TV Movie 2011)". IMDb. 26 November 2011. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  10. ^ "Venice The Band – Home". Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  11. ^ "Villagers thrilled to see Lennon Sisters in pair of concerts at Savannah Center". Retrieved February 24, 2016.
  12. ^ Rosen, Jody (25 June 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Lennon Sisters on the Walk of Fame". The Lewiston Journal. 1987-12-16. Retrieved 2014-12-23.
  14. ^ "Induction Concerts". The Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation. Archived from the original on 2014-12-20. Retrieved 2014-12-23.
  15. ^ Reviews and Ratings of New Popular Albums: LAWRENCE WELK FEATURING THE LENNON SISTERS. Billboard, 9 March 1959.
  16. ^ Pat Downey; George Albert; Frank W. Hoffmann (1994). Cash box pop singles charts, 1950-1993. Libraries Unlimited. pp. 201, 372.
    Frank W. Hoffmann (1983). The Cash Box Singles Charts, 1950-1981. Scarecrow Press. p. 152.
  17. ^ Bob Leszcza. Who Did It First?: Great Pop Cover Songs and Their Original Artists.

External linksEdit