Joanie Sommers was born Joan Drost in Buffalo, New York in 1941. While barely a teen, her family moved to California where Sommers began to pursue singing. She started singing with the band at her high-school dances at Venice High School.
In 1959, Sommers was put under contract by Warner Bros. records. She was put to work singing with Edd Byrnes (replacing Connie Stevens) of the TV series 77 Sunset Strip (1958) and guested on the show. Her first single with Byrnes was titled “Kookie’s Love Song” and it was followed by her first solo album, ‘Positively The Most’, that same year. Critics embraced the jazz-influenced album and she was dubbed “the greatest singing discovery of the last 15 years”. She was eighteen years old.
In 1960, Sommers released her first solo single, a rendition of “One Boy” from the musical Bye Bye Birdie which charted at #54 on Billboard’s 100. In 1962, her biggest hit “Johnny Get Angry” reached #7. That year she was named “Most promising new female vocalist of 1962” by Cashbox magazine.
In 1965, Sommers reached her peak with the critically-acclaimed album Softly The Brazilian Sound which paired her with bossa nova guitarist Laurindo Almeida. She left Warner Bros. for Columbia Records in 1966. She had several singles with Columbia, but only one album titled ‘Come Alive’. Also in 1966, she played the part of a pink-haired angel who helps an ex-teen idol played by Ricky Nelson on the ABC Stage 67 (1966) production “On the Flip Side” which featured songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Included in the soundtrack was Sommers’ rendition of “Try To See It My Way”.
During the 60s, she made many TV appearances and the feature films Everything’s Ducky (1961) and The Lively Set (1964). She also was the voice behind the popular Pepsi-Cola jingles “It’s Pepsi, for those who think young.” and “Now you see it, now you don’t, oh, Diet Pepsi!”
As the 60s were ending, Joanie Sommers essentially retired from show business in order to concentrate on her marriage and children. In recent years, she has reemerged to perform at nightclubs and has recorded new albums.