The Three Degrees are an American female vocal group, formed in 1963 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The group has always been a trio, although there have been a number of personnel changes and a total of fifteen women have represented the group so far. The original members were Fayette Pinkney, Shirley Porter and Linda Turner. The most successful line-up was Fayette with Sheila Ferguson and Valerie Holiday, these three being responsible for recording the 1974 single "When Will I See You Again", which was a huge international hit, peaking at #2 in the US and topping the UK Singles Chart.
The Three Degrees were formed around 1963 in Philadelphia. They were discovered by producer and songwriter Richard Barrett. Barrett was responsible for groups of the 1950s such as The Chantels, Little Anthony and the Imperials, and The Valentines. Barrett recorded the original line-up on their first song, entitled "Gee Baby (I'm Sorry)", for Swan Records, in 1965. Turner and Porter both left the group, leavingFayette Pinkney the only original member. Turner and Porter were replaced by Helen Scott and a variety of other ladies before Janet Harmon joined in the mid-1960s. Barrett also began managing and producing Sheila Ferguson, who was a high school friend of Scott. Barrett also signed Ferguson to Swan Records in 1965. The Three Degrees released a number of singles, including "I'm Gonna Need You" and acover version of "Maybe" in 1966.
By 1966, with many performances lined up, Scott decided to leave the group to start a family. Ferguson filled in for Scott and would remain in the group for 20 years. Ferguson sangbackup on all the group's Swan recordings as did the Three Degrees for her solo singles. By 1967, Harmon left and was eventually replaced by Valerie Holiday. Barrett signed them to recording contracts over the next three years with Warner Bros., Metromedia, and Neptune record labels; the latter of which was owned by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff who would work with group five years later. Their close harmony singing made them a popular nightclub act but a hit record still eluded them.