Earnestine Pearce and Shirley Pearce sisters from Orangeburg South Carolina and Viola Billups AKA Pearly Gates from Tuskegee Alabama are The Flirtations, known for their signature song “Nothing but a Heartache”
These Northern Soul darlings worked in the 1960’s at the Apollo and other venues where they had great success with songs like “Jerk It” “It’s a Woman’s World” and other recordings. Wanting to travel they decided to try another country so the three ladies left New York in early 1967 to visit and perform in London initially because they were in love with The Beatles. Their minds were quickly changed after engaging with the audiences and feeling genuine love from the people, they had no choice but to make London, England their new home. The all girl group moved to England in 1969.
'The group signed with Deram Records in 1968 and recorded the album "Sounds Like The Flirtations" in 1972 they signed with Polydor, where they saw more success with their cover of Marvin Gaye's "Little Darling."
The group was still performing during the 1980s and beyond, and saw a new single, "Read About It," issued on the Passion label in 1986. The group has continued to perform intermittently in some form in the years since, and was included on Rhino's Beg Scream & Shout! The Big Ol' Box of '60s Soul. Viola Billups and Earnestine Pearce performed together in public during March of 2001 in England, on the occasion of their former producer Sidney Barnes' first concert tour of the U.K., joining their one-time mentor from the 1960s on-stage.
Like Barnes, The Flirtations have been idolized for years by Britain's enthusiasts on the Northern Soul scene'.
Their two 'Northern' dance floor hits 'Nothing But A Heartache' (10 million streams on Spotify) and 'Little Darling' are still played at Northern Soul events throughout the country every week.
The band have toured with Stevie Wonder, Tom Jones, The Four Tops, The Temptations and many more. Doing Top Of The Pops on two occasions. Venues played included The Palladium, Hammersmith Odeon, Wembley Stadium, Jazz Cafe and Wigan Casino (numerous times).
Albums include: Sounds Like The Flirtations, The World Of The Flirtations and Love Makes The World Go Round.