The first all-girl band signed to a major label, Goldie and the Gingerbreads formed in NYC in 1962. Singer Genya “Goldie” Zelkowitz met drummer Ginger Panabianco after seeing her perform with a band in a club. Surprised that there was such a thing as a female drummer, Goldie suggested that they start their own band, and they soon recruited Margo Lewis and Carol MacDonald on organ and guitar. The novelty of girls playing instruments ensured that the girls found work playing at parties, but their skill soon landed them a tour of the UK with the Kinks, the Animals, the Yardbirds, the Hollies, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. When they recorded a song called “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” in 1964, their exposure in the UK propelled the song into the top 40.
Although they toured in the US, the band had not yet found their audience there. With the success of “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” in England, they planned to release the single in the states. Before they could issue the single, a new British group called Herman’s Hermits recorded their own version and rushed it into release before the Gingerbreads’ version could hit the airwaves. It reached #2 on the US charts and killed any chance of the Gingerbreads having a hit with the song. Goldie and the Gingerbreads soldiered on, recording and releasing many fine songs, before disbanding in 1968. Genya “Goldie” Zelkowitz changed her name to Genya Ravan, and in the 1970s became an active member of the punk rock scene in NYC. She produced the first Dead Boys album, Young Loud and Snotty, as well as many other records. She currently hosts a radio show on Little Steven’s Underground Garage channel on Sirius.