This US pop rock act was formed from the ashes of the Lackeys and Schemers, who played several low-key gigs in the early 70s. The line-up featured Annie Golden (b. Anne Golden, 19 October 1951, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA; vocals), Ronnie Ardito (b. Ronald Ardito, guitar/keyboards), Arthur Lamonica (guitar/vocals), Robert Racioppo (bass/vocals), John Piccolo (keyboards) and John ‘Zeeek’ Criscione (drums). All members provided songs either on their own or in partnership with other personnel. Golden also worked as an actor, having a leading role in the screen adaptation of Hair in 1979. Other names that were suggested for the assembly included the Pants and the Sleeves. Shirts was the eventual choice, with the proviso that it should be pronounced ‘Shoits’ in a thick New York accent. Unsurprisingly, this tradition lapsed with time. They initially earned a crust as a Top 40 covers band playing in bars, before graduating to clubs such as CBGB’s in 1975. Their first single, ‘Tell Me Your Plans’, was a surprise hit in Europe. Their big break came with a Peter Gabriel tour, before further singles and albums, including the single ‘Laugh And Walk Away’.
The Shirts disappeared from the annals of rock in the mid-80s, taking their pronunciation with them. Golden released a solo single in 1984 before carving out a new career as an actress. The Shirts did reunite, however, for one night in 1993 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their spiritual home, CBGB’s. Further reunions took place in 1999 and 2003, with Golden replaced by new members Caren Messing (vocals) and Kathy McCloskey (keyboards/vocals). The second reunion culminatined in the recording of the band’s fourth studio album, Only The Dead Know Brooklyn.