The Ladybirds are a British female vocal harmony trio, known for their appearances on "The Benny Hill Show." Appearing as the musical companion to several early episode in the 1970s, their vocals coninued to be used through the rest of the series long after they stopped making appearances.
The members of the Ladybirds were originally members of an earlier Sixties group known as the Vernon Girls. Breaking up in 1961, group member Maureen Kennedy carried on with Jean Ryder as a group called "The Two Tones," touring United States Air Force bases in Germany, before returning to the UK to work as back-up singers to Max Bygraves on stage. After on the Val Doonican TV Special in 1962, singer Marian Davies replaced Ryder, and singer Gloria George joined the group, now known as "The Ladybirds."
In August 1965, The Ladybirds signed to Decca Records and started out doing background vocals to singer Marc Bolan. In 1966, The Ladybirds were hired to provide vocal backing on "Top of the Pops" on BBC until they were replaced a week later by The Maggie Stredder Singers. They also appeared on a number of Twiggy's television show and worked as backing singers on the Mood Mosaic track,. "A Touch of Velvet – A Sting of Brass." They also sang backing vocals on Sandie Shaw's "Puppet on a String," also joining her in a live performance in Vienna, Austria, when the song won the Eurovision Song Contest.
In 1969, the Ladybirds were hired as vocalists on "The Benny Hill Show" doing vocals for opening segments as well as performing their own songs on the show. Gloria George left the trio while they were connected with the show and was replaced by singer Penny Lister for a short time. In May 1973, they performed vocals on the John Entwhistle album, "Rigor Mortis Sets In." From the mid-70s until 1986, the Ladybirds included Maggie Stredder, Ann Simmons, another former Vernons Girl, and Laura Lee. They also returned to Eurovision, backing Olivia Newton-John, the sister of Benny Hill cast member Rona Newton-John on "Long Live Love," in 1974.


The Ladybirds appeared on many light entertainment shows in the United Kingdom including "Cilla" in 1968, "Lulu's Back In Town," "The Les Dawson Show," "The Two Ronnies," "Morecambe and Wise," "Tommy Cooper," "Little and Large" and others. In 1977, they recorded songs for a low-budget covers album, including "Chanson D'Amour," "Yes Sir, I Can Boogie" and "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina." They also sang on several orchestral albums by Benny Hill's Thames TV musical director, Ronnie Aldrich.
In 2005, the Ladybirds appeared one more time on Mark Wirtz's Ear Theatre album, "Love is Eggshaped: The Soundtrack." By now, they consisted of Maggie Stredder, Kay Garner and Vicki Robinson. In recent times, Stredder, Sheila Bruce, and Penny Lister, have reappeared billed as the Vernons Girls. Stredder has since launched a successful career as an after-dinner speaker, recalling her life in show business. Sadly, she passed away March 10, 2018 at the age of 82.



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