The Ladybirds was apparently quite the popular name for female pop groups in the 1960s. There were several all-girl bands in the 1960s named The Ladybirds, some of them who performed fully-clothed and some who did not.
But let’s narrow it down to just the Ladybirds who got their kits off, shall we, leaving out a California-based group by that name who opened for the Stones for at least one performance during their 1965 US tour and also the Ladybirds, an English all-girl vocal harmony group often seen on The Benny Hill Show.
Now as it turns out, there wasn’t just a single band of topless Ladybirds, either. There were two! What are the odds of that?
First we have the American Ladybirds, a garage rock group that was comprised of five showgirls and begun in San Francisco (some sources say NJ) sometime in 1966. When they first started out their act was just a T&A gimmick—I’m guessing one that was inspired by Charlotte Morman’s topless cello playing, then in the news, although topless waitresses were already a “thing” at that point—with the ‘birds shaking their tailfeathers (and tits) at punters but miming along to backing tracks in places like the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, LA’s risque Blue Bunny Club and Tipsy’s, a “cabaret” in San Francisco’s then wild North Beach neighborhood where they were booked for 14 solid months. Like the Monkees, eventually they learned how to play their own instruments.
Here’s a ridiculous bit of Ladybirds trivia: None other than World Golf Hall of Fame golfer Raymond Floyd managed the group, at least for a while. A 1998 Sports Illustrated article about Floyd called him an “investor” in the Ladybirds. Floyd was apparently a rather notorious party boy in his younger years and the owner of a nightclub called Coke’s. He probably co-managed the group with Voss Boreta who also managed stripper Carol Doda, at least for a while.
And then there are the Danish Ladybirds who also got topless. It’s known for instance, that this Copenhagen-based group played a double bill with Led Zeppelin—then still called the New Yardbirds for contractual reasons (Ladybirds/Yardbirds, geddit?) at the Fjordvilla Club in Roskilde, Denmark, on September 8th 1968. These Ladybirds stuck it out until 1986 before calling it quits.
From the shots below you can see both the predominantly brunette US incarnation and the blonder Scandinavian variant of Ladybirds. Frankly I don’t expect we’ll be seeing any sort of 50 year anniversary reunions from either of them.
Footage of the US-based Ladybirds performing at the Blue Bunny Club in Los Angeles. The line-up seen here includes Robin Sherwood (lead guitar, vocals), Barbara Branch (guitar, vocals), Marcelle Mitchell (bass), Rosita Quintana (drums) and Deborah Dayan (organ). Taken from ‘The Wild World of Jayne Mansfield’
The Ladybirds onstage at Tipsy’s in San Francisco. This clip comes from the 2008 Vh1 documentary ‘Sex: The Revolution’
The Danish Ladybirds
The Ladybirds from Denmark playing live in Italy sometime in 1977