JOY BEVERLEY, of singing trio the Beverley Sisters, has died aged 91. The oldest of the three sisters, Joy had recently suffered a stroke and died on Monday morning (August 31), said her son Vince Wright.
Through decades on the stage, the group, who always appeared in identical outfits, will be remembered for such classics as Little Drummer Boy, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and the Irving Berlin song Sisters.
Alongside her record-breaking singing career, Joy was married to England footballer Billy Wright.
With her sisters, the twins Babs and Teddie, Joy’s showbusiness career started at a young age, when the girls were evacuated from their Bethnal Green home to the Midlands during the Second World War and were picked up for an advertising campaign for Ovaltine.
The girls, whose parents were music hall performers, won over big band leader Glenn Miller, and they recorded songs with members of his orchestra. After the war, they secured their own TV series with the BBC, performing the hits of the day. Despite a limited number of recordings, the Beverley Sisters are to believed to have been the highest-paid female performers in the UK for 20 years.
Joy married the England captain Billy Wright in 1958, and the group more or less retired after that, Joy saying in an interview in the 1990s that she had felt it was time “to have an ordinary life.”
But in the 1980s the Beverley Sisters went back to the stage, performing in gay clubs and for British troops overseas. In 2002, the trio performed at the Royal Jubilee celebrations, and that same year the Guinness Book of Records named them the world’s longest surviving vocal group with no change in line-up.
In 2006, Joy and her sisters received recognition for their contribution to music with MBEs.
Joy’s sisters are still with us, now aged 88, and she leaves behind three children and four grandchildren.