Before “Amanda” fused porn and metal in Rockbitch, catching Europe with their pants down- there were the Ladybirds.
The origins of the Ladybirds is vague at best. Although most sources claim they “hailed from New Jersey” there isn’t any verification. Other unverified sources claim they were a UK band. According to an interview with burlesque queen “Satan’s Angel” by Martin Hoyem in American Ethnography the band was started by San Francisco promoter Davey Rosenberg, who later started a second topless band The Hummingbirds once The Ladybirds went on tour. In March 1973 a topless all girl band known as the Ladybirds appeared at The Granary in Bristol, UK- although the article claims the band was Swedish it’s possible that it was the same American band during a European tour. Alternatively we’re looking at two (or more) separate topless all-girl bands with the same name and playing at the same time… well, it was the ’60s.
To confuse things further, a fully dressed group called the Ladybirds opened for the Stones in 1965- apparently not the same group. With all the acid floating around, one would think girls could come up with an original band name ?
At any rate, they were definitely gigging in Las Vegas and Hollywood in the mid to late ’60s: when
“The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield” was released in 1968 it included a clip of the band playing at the Blue Bunny club in Hollywood.
That same year there’s a reference to them opening for the Yardbirds (September 8 1968- Fjordvilla club Paramount, Roskilde, Denmark)
Whoever they were- and wherever they came from, they were definitely some perky ladies.
From “The Wild Wild World of Jayne Mansfield”, 1968
|“This photo shows the “Lady Bird’s” San Francisco’s first topless
female band. They performed at Tipsy’s where the Big Al’s sign now
hangs. When they first started out they were “air” musicians. After a
few mishaps with the background tape recording they finally learned to
really play their instruments”- Dick Boyd:
Broadway North Beach, The Golden Years – A Saloon Keeper’s Tales