The Gerldets, later known as Promise
In 1969, four junior high girls from Washington D.C. seemed to be getting their big break. They were singers in a band dubbed the Gerldets. Two of the Gerldets had been performing together since they were eight years old. Back then, one of their mothers was handling management duties and it's safe to say that her tutelage wasn't exactly bringing the pre-teens the fame and fortune they were craving.
But now, four years later, they were a quartet and the future was looking bright for the girls, who up until that time had only played small gigs, dances and private parties. This was because one of them had a serious industry "in." Her name was Janice Jones, and her father's cousin was Eddie Kendricks, an extremely talented young fellow who sang in one of the best and most popular groups of its time.
It must have been something for these girls to be just one degree of separation from a genuine star. Chances are, they were probably fans of his and the thought of him giving them a break probably made them as giddy as, well...schoolgirls.
And Kendricks did help them. How? He arranged an audition for the pre-teens with the most powerful person in all of soul music, Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records. It was Gordy who had established careers for pretty much everyone in the soul genre, including the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes...
...and the Jackson 5.
I imagine a couple thoughts had to cross these girls' minds. Sure, they could be "the next Jackson 5." But, maybe Gordy would do for them what he did for The Supremes and set up a nationally syndicated Jackson 5/Gerldets television special! At the very least maybe he'd let the girls provide handclaps and backing vocals to the Jacksons' new hit recordings. There was only one way to find out. The girls met with Barry Gordy and gave an audition.
It's unclear whether Gordy thought the Gerldets were talented. What is known is that he rejected them and one of the reasons he did was because he didn't want to manage another underage group. Still, you can't help but think that if the Gerldets truly had that "it" factor, Gordy and Motown would have gobbled them right up.
But despite Gordy's rejection, the Gerldets carried on. They changed their name to Promise and released a couple singles. They never achieved any success, which must have crushed them because they flirted with fame A LOT. Here are three absolutely legendary performers they opened for:
In 1975, the four members of Promise were no longer girls. They were 18. College was on the horizon and each woman enrolled at a school somewhere across America. I can't tell you that much more than that. But, I can let you hear what they sounded like. Here is one of Promise's flop singles: "I'm Not Ready for Love," which appears on a compilation called Homeschooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul, which includes 17 songs by obscure kid groups.
"I'm Not Ready For Love" by Promise