They started their career as imitators of an earlier successful singing group, the Boswell Sisters. After singing with various dance bands and touring on Vaudeville, they first came to national attention with their recordings and radio broadcasts in 1937. Their music entertained Allied troops worldwide during World War II, sold war bonds, appeared in several films, and performed for soldiers serving overseas. Their popularity was such that after the war they discovered that some of their records had actually been smuggled into Germany after the labels had been changed to read "Hitler's Marching Songs."
After a brief hiatus after the war, the sisters regrouped, performing in clubs throughout the United States and Europe. Their last appearance together was in 1962 on The Dean Martin Show. Laverne, who had cancer, retired soon after; she died five years later, in 1967.
After a long silence, the two surviving sisters had something of a comeback when Bette Midler recorded a cover of their song "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Maxine and Patti appeared both together and separately throughout the 1970s, with Maxine releasing a solo album in 1986. Throughout their long career, the sisters had sold over 60 million records. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.