Friday, 30 November 2012

Frank Ifield born 30 November 1937

Frank Ifield (born Francis Edward Ifield, 30 November 1937, Coundon, Coventry, Warwickshire, England) is an Australian-English easy listening and country music singer. He achieved considerable success in the early 1960s, especially in the UK Singles Chart, where he had four #1 hits between 1962 and 1963.

Frank Ifield moved with his Australian parents to Dural, 50 km (30 miles) from Sydney, about 1946. It was a rural district and he listened to hillbilly music (now called country) while
milking the cows. He learned how to yodel in imitation of country stars like Hank Snow. At the age of thirteen he recorded "Did You See My Daddy Over There?", and by the age of 19 was the number one recording star in Australia and New Zealand. He returned to the UK in 1959.

His first record in the UK was "Lucky Devil" (1960) which got to number 22 in the UK charts. His next six records were less successful, but he finally broke through with "I Remember You" which topped the charts for seven weeks in 1962. 


Known for Ifield's falsetto and a slight yodel, it became the top-selling single of that year and was one of the first million sellers within the UK alone. His next single was a double A-side: "Lovesick Blues" and "She Taught Me How to Yodel". "Lovesick Blues" was originally sung by Hank Williams and was treated in an upbeat "Let's Twist Again" style. The other song is a virtuoso piece of yodelling with the final verse - entirely yodelling - sung at double-speed. It also reached number 44 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. His next hit, "Wayward Wind", made him the first UK-based person to reach number one three times in the UK in succession. The only other person to have done so at that point was Elvis Presley.

His other recordings include "Nobody's Darling but Mine", "Confessin'" (his fourth and final UK chart topper), "Mule Train" and "Don't Blame Me". In 1963 he sang at the Grand Ole Opry, introduced by one of his heroes, Hank Snow. Many of his records were produced by Norrie Paramor.

Ifield toured the UK, supported by The Beatles. While Vee-Jay Records temporarily had the rights to a number of The Beatles' recordings, they released an album called Jolly
What England's Greatest Recording Stars: The Beatles and Frank Ifield on Stage on 26 February 1964. This consists of four studio recordings of the Beatles plus eight recordings of Ifield. The original pressing has a drawing of a chubby old man with a moustache, and is itself quite rare. However, just before Vee Jay's publishing rights were about to expire on 10 October 1964 they changed the sleeve cover to a drawing of the Beatles. Probably less than one hundred copies were pressed. It is the rarest Beatles album.

Ifield twice entered the UK heat of the Eurovision Song
Contest. In 1962 he came second with "Alone Too Long" (losing to Ronnie Carroll). In the 1976  Eurovision Song he tried with "Ain't Gonna Take No for an Answer", finishing last of 12.

In 1991, Ifield returned to the UK chart when "She Taught Me to Yodel", billed as 'Frank Ifield featuring The Backroom Boys', reaching #40 in the UK Singles Chart. In over thirty years, it is his sixteenth appearance in that list. He has successfully
made a career in cabaret and the 1960s nostalgia scene.

On 10 June 2012, Ifield joined his friend Paul Hazell, on his World of Country show on the community radio station Uckfield FM. He was in the studio for the entire programme, and discussed his life in music and forthcoming induction to the Coventry Music Wall of Fame. (info Wikipedia)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

John Gary born 29 November 1932

 John Gary (November 29, 1932 — January 4, 1998) was an American singer and a technically accomplished vocalist.

Born John Gary Strader in 1932 in Watertown, New York, Gary got his start in show business as a child, when at age five he joined his sister Shirley in a brother-sister act; the two performed on a variety of amateur talent shows. When Gary was nine, his singing won him a scholarship to attend the
Cathedral School of St. John the Divine in New York City. At ten, he won awards for performing with the Stage Door Canteen, and when he was twelve, he toured with pianist Frank Pursley.

He joined the Marines on his 17th birthday. He requested combat duty, but was refused because a law known as the Sullivan Act prohibited brothers from fighting in the same conflict. His older brother Richard was already serving in Vietnam, so Gary became a military police officer.

After his military service ended, Gary, now about 20 years old, worked making demo records for songwriters, including the prolific Henry Mancini. He was also known for his rendition of "Danny Boy," and sang it on almost every variety show of the 1960s and 1970s, including those hosted by Ed
Sullivan, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Steve Allen, Merv Griffin, and Carol Burnett. In the 1960s, Gary worked as a summer replacement for Danny Kaye, and as a result he was given his own three-year show, "The John Gary Show."

Gary sang in movies, on Broadway, and appeared at Carnegie Hall, with numerous symphonies. He appeared 30 times as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar, Steve Allen and Johnny Carson. He traveled across the U.S. and Canada with approximately 40 concerts per year. For six years he gave Community concerts in over 400 cities and towns. He was a stylized singer, who recorded 23 albums for RCA Victor Records.

Gary was considered by many to be one of the best crooners due to his extraordinary breath control and tonal quality of
his voice. He had an exceptionally wide range of three octaves. His singing ranged from robust baritone to a high sweet tenor often in the same song. Many popular songs of the time were suited to his intimate style.

In 1960, he joined ASCAP and composed several popular songs. He had five songs that made the adult contemporary (or easy listening) chart in Billboard magazine. The song "Cold", released in 1967, was his most successful, topping the chart for two weeks at the end of that year. However, the song failed to crack the
Billboard Hot 100 pop chart. In 1968 he voiced John Alden in the Rankin/Bass Animated TV special "The Mouse on the Mayflower".

Gary married his wife, Lee, a native of New Orleans, in 1971; they had one daughter and seven sons. The family moved to Chicago when Gary was offered a contract to sing for a popular radio show there called "The Breakfast Club." He then went to New York City, where he was offered a contract with RCA. He was 30 years old. He continued to record with RCA for many years, until his style of music fell from popular favor with the rise of rock and roll, but while his music was still popular he made about 50 albums, half of them with RCA and half on various
independent labels. The highlights of his career are collected on two albums, The Very Best of John Gary and The Essential John Gary.

Gary became ill with prostate cancer in his later years, and after a long battle with the illness, died from it in Dallas, Texas, on January 4, 1998. He was survived by his wife and their eight children, as well as by several grandchildren. The John Gary Memorial Fund was established in his memory, to provide music scholarships to promising male singers.

(Info edited from & Wikipedia)

Here's "Danny Boy " from John Gary's 1964 LP So Tenderly

Monday, 26 November 2012

Michael Holliday born 26 November 1924

Michael Holliday (26 November 1924 — 29 October 1963 ) was a British singer  popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s, who sang in a very similar style to Bing Crosby.

Michael Holliday emerged as a singing star in late-'50s England, at approximately the same time that Lonnie Donegan, Cliff Richard, and Billy Fury began tearing up the U.K. charts, but he couldn't have represented a more
different brand of music. For four years, from 1956 through 1960, Holliday bade fair to be England's top male singing star, with a smooth, pleasing baritone singing style that was often compared to Bing Crosby.

He was born Norman Alexander Milne in Liverpool in 1928 and never considered music as a career. It was during a stint as a merchant seaman in the late '40s that he discovered his talent for entertaining, mostly in front of his shipmates. Fate took a hand when he landed in New York and won a talent competition at Radio City Music Hall. Upon his return to England, he secured his release from the merchant service and decided to become a singer. He took the name Michael
Holliday and was hired as a singer and guitarist with the Eric Winstone Band. In 1955, he was signed as a solo artist to EMI's Columbia label by producer Norrie Paramor.

Holliday enjoyed modest successes with his covers of "Yellow Rose of Texas" and "Sixteen Tons." "Nothin' to Do" was his first Top 30 hit, in March of 1956, and he made the Top 20 with the double-sided hit of "The Gal With Yeller Shoes" and "Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity)" later that same year. Holliday's chart action for the next year was relatively modest.  At the end of 1957, however, he recorded an early Burt Bacharach/Hal David composition called "The Story of My Life," which soared to number one in England in a 15-week ride on the charts.


Holliday also showed an unexpected ability as a composer, getting one of his own songs onto the B-side. With his soothing vocal style and good looks, Holliday seemed a natural for a screen career, but apart from an acting role in Val Guest's comedy Life Is a Circus, he never tried for a big-screen career. On television, however, he was a regular guest on variety programs. He also had his own program, called (appropriately enough) Relax With Mike.

He enjoyed further modest hits and once again soared on the U.K. charts with "Stairway of Love," a 13-week entry that hit number three. "Starry Eyed" was another number one hit for Holliday in 1960. All of these songs were done in a smooth, soothing style of crooning, almost a throwback to the 1940s and very beguiling to adult listeners seeking an
alternative to the skiffle and rock & roll sounds that their children were listening to. Holliday's albums seemed aimed at those older listeners -- he recorded five LPs between 1958 and 1962, all of which were far more steeped in nostalgia than his singles, most of which were covers of contemporary songs.

Holliday's chart entries ended after 1960, but his success up to that point was self-sustaining. He was a popular television and stage entertainer and always bidded fair for a comeback.

His private life, however, was apparently as unsettled as his public persona seemed smooth and relaxed. Holliday suffered from stage fright and had a mental breakdown in 1961; he
committed suicide two years later on the 29th of October of 1963. The British entertainment world was shocked by the news that Michael Holliday had died suddenly in a hospital in Croydon, by an apparent drug overdose. Michael Holliday was a stylistic anachronism from the outset of his career. He stood in stark defiance of the changes that were taking place in music around him (and what he made of his fellow Liverpudlians the Beatles during the final ten months of his life is anyone's guess). His voice had a seductive power that, at its best, cut across cultural lines and is difficult to deny even a half-century after his passing. (info mainly edited from All Music Guide)

Videos are few and far between but I've chosen The Folks Who Live On The Hill from 1961


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Etta Jones born 25 November 1928

Etta Jones (November 25, 1928 – October 16, 2001) was an American jazz singer whose critical success and relative commercial obscurity earned her a reputation in her lifetime as a "jazz musician's jazz singer". A highly underrated singer who rarely received the recognition she richly deserved, perhaps the salient mark of her obscurity was the number of times even followers of the female jazz vocal scene would confuse her with a more popular singer, Etta James.

Etta was born November 25, 1928, in Aiken, South Carolina and when she was three years old, the family moved to New
York City. At 15, her family members encouraged her to enter a local talent contest and though she didn't win, she got much more -- a job as the newest and youngest member of pianist Buddy Johnson's big band. Etta stayed with Johnson's big band for a year and then went out on her own in 1944 to record several sides with noted jazz producer and writer Leonard Feather. In 1947, she returned to singing in big bands, one led by drummer J.C. Heard and the next with legendary pianist, Earl "Fatha" Hines, whom she stayed with for three years.

Etta struck out on her own again in 1952, performing at smaller New York City clubs such as The Onyx and the Baby Grand. To make ends meet, she often worked odd jobs as an elevator operator, a seamstress and a LP jacket stuffer at London Records.

In 1960, Etta hit it big with "Don't Go To Strangers"
on Prestige Records. The single became a jukebox favorite, while the album of the same title earned her a gold record. Following her recordings for Prestige, on which Jones was featured with outstanding arrangers such as Oliver Nelson and jazz stars such as Frank Wess, Roy Haynes and Gene Ammons, Jones had a musical partnership of more than thirty years with tenor sax player Houston Person, who received equal billing with her. He also produced her albums and served as her manager, after meeting in one of Johnny Hammond's bands.

Etta and Houston continued performing together around the world, staying their course while riding the rocky waves of rapidly changing musical trends. Fortunately, they weren't in it for the money, rather the joys of travelling and meeting new friends.

As the singer who perhaps came closest to the "natural" sound and phrasing of Billie Holiday, Jones brought to the
fragile and vulnerable Holiday persona a bite and power reminiscent of Dinah Washington. She knew pain and loss (especially following the death of a daughter) but did not let it cast a melancholy aura over her performances.

Etta received a Grammy nomination in 1980 for her album, Save Your Love For Me. Unfortunately, her physical health began deteriorating because of cancer. She re-emerged in the early 1990s with a new passion for life and a spirit for musical adventure. She took on more solo gigs and began collaborating with young musicians such as pianist Benny Green and bluesman Charles Brown.

Etta Jones sang professionally for over 50 years, yet she
steadfastly remained a "best-kept secret" throughout her career. With the clarity of Carmen McRae and the edge of Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday, her unique style drew from gospel, R&B, blues, and jazz.

On Oct. 16, 2001, Etta Jones lost her long battle with cancer, the day her last album, Etta Jones Sings Lady Day was released. (info mainly

I have one LP in my library of Etta Jones  entitled "Something Nice". All the tracks are enjoyable but here's one of my favourites: "Till There Was You" from 1961.

Personnel: Etta Jones (vocals); Wally Richardson (guitar); Oliver Nelson (tenor saxophone); Richard Wyands (piano, vibraphone); Jimmy Neely (piano); Lem Winchester (vibraphone); Rudy Lawless, Roy Haynes (drums).


There's not much video footage of Etta but I found "I thought about you". No info given so if anyone can give any details I will be chuffed.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Eileen Barton born 24 November 1924

Eileen Phyllis Barton (November 24, 1924 - June 27, 2006), was an American singer best known for her apostrophic 1950 hit song, "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake."

She was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her birthdate is often given as 1929, but a certified copy of her birth certificate shows that she was born in 1924. This was done commonly, to shave a few years from a performer's age.

Eileen's parents, Benny and Elsie Barton, were vaudeville performers. She first appeared in her parents' act at age
2-1/2, singing "Ain't Misbehavin' and soon became a child star. By age 6, she appeared on "The Horn and Hardart Children's Hour," a radio program sponsored by Horn & Hardart's "Automat," a then-well-known restaurant chain, and by age 7 she was working with Milton Berle on his "Community Sing" radio program. At 8, she had a daily singing program of her own on radio station WMCA, "Arnold's Dinner Club." She also acted on radio series such as Death Valley Days. At age 11, she left show business briefly. At age 14 she went on the Broadway stage as an understudy to Nancy Walker in Best Foot Forward, followed by an appearance under her own name with Elaine Stritch in Angel in the Wings.

At age 15, she appeared as a guest singer on a Johnny Mercer variety series, leading to her being noticed by Frank Sinatra,
who took her under his wing and put her in a regular spot on the CBS radio show that he hosted in the 1940s. She co-starred on Sinatra's show for one year, and was also part of Sinatra's act at the Paramount Theater in 15 appearances there. She also appeared on her own and as a guest performer with such stars as Count Basie, Nat King Cole, and Danny Kaye. Soon she got her own radio programs, first one called Teen Timers, and later the 13-episode The Eileen Barton Show. She also did some early television.


In 1949 she cut the record of "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake" (written by Bob Merrill, Albert Hoffman and Al Trace; Trace used the pseudonym Clem Watts) and introduced it on Don McNeill's radio program, The Breakfast Club. On the record, Trace's band musicians backed her, but were given billing as "The New Yorkers."3 The record became one of the best-selling records on an independent label of all time, charting at #1 for twelve weeks, and altogether on the Billboard charts for over four months.

As is often the case in early music business stories, Eileen - in an interview in 2005 - indicated she never received a penny in royalties from either National or Mercury for her record's success, although by contract she was supposed to receive 5% of each sale.

After the success of this record, she became a night club and stage performer, appearing at all the important clubs in New
York City and many others. She continued to record for both National and Mercury, making "Honey, Won't You Honeymoon with Me?" (catalog number 9109) and "May I Take Two Giant Steps?" (catalog number 9112) for National and "You Brought a New Kind of Love" (catalog number 5410) for Mercury.

Later she moved over to Coral Records, and charted with some cover versions of songs that were bigger hits for other artists, such as "Cry," "Sway," and others. She also appeared in motion pictures and television, working the restaurant and night club circuit well into the 1970s.

Eileen Barton died at her West Hollywood home from ovarian cancer. She had no children and was not married at the time of her passing. Barton was 81 years old at the time of her death. (info Wikipedia)

A quick video search gives me this little gem. For the March of Dimes, Eileen sings I Have To" from 1955.


Friday, 23 November 2012

Betty Everett born 23 November 1939

Betty Everett (November 23, 1939, Greenwood, Mississippi – August 19, 2001, Beloit, Wisconsin) was an African-American R&B singer and pianist. She is known for her biggest hit single "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)."

At the age of nine, Everett began playing the piano and singing gospel music in church. She continued these activities while growing up until moving to Chicago in 1957 to pursue a career in secular music. She recorded for various small local labels and produced by such later luminaries as Ike Turner and Curtis Mayfield, before she was discovered in 1963 by
A&R musical director Calvin Carter, from the then fast-growing independent label, Vee-Jay Records.

That same year, an initial single failed, but her next Vee-Jay release, a bluesy version of "You're No Good" (written by Clint Ballard, Jr. and later a #1 hit for Linda Ronstadt), just missed the U.S. top 50. Her third single, the catchy "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)", was her biggest solo hit. It peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and made #1 on the Cashbox R&B chart.

Her other hits included "I Can't Hear You", "Getting Mighty Crowded" (covered by Elvis Costello in 1980), and several duets with Jerry Butler, including "Let It Be Me" which made the US Top 5 in 1964 and was another Cashbox R&B 
number 1. After Vee-Jay folded in 1966, she recorded for several other labels, including Uni, Fantasy, and ABC.

 After an unsuccessful year with ABC, a move to Uni brought another major success in 1969 with "There'll Come A Time", co-written by producer and lead singer of The Chi-Lites, Eugene Record, this rose to #2 in the Billboard R&B listing (#26 on the Hot 100) and topped the Cashbox chart. However, most of her later work could not match the success she had with Vee-Jay, although there were other R&B hits with "It's Been A Long Time" and "I Got To Tell Somebody", which re-united her with Calvin Carter in 1970. Her final recording came out in 1980, again produced by Carter. Her awards include the BMI Pop Award (both for 1964 and 1991) and the BMI R&B Award (for 1964).

Living with her sister from the 1980s until her death, Everett resided in Beloit, Wisconsin, where she was involved in the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and the churches of the Fountain of Life and New Covenant. In 1989 a personal handler of Everett at the time, brought her to the attention of Worldwide TMA, a management consulting firm in Chicago under the direction of Steve Arvey and Scott Pollack, former Chairman of The Chicago Songwriters Association, and started to re-surge Everett onto the national scene.

After two years of effort Everett's fortunes were again on the rise. At that time a subsequent release of her signature hit, "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" had made it into the movie, Mermaids. It was recorded by Cher and used for the ending credits backtrack of the film. Cher charted well with the former hit in the United Kingdom (and elsewhere in Europe), and an article appeared in a British Sunday
newspaper The Mail On Sunday with the headline reading; "Betty Everett Gets Her "Cher" Of A Hit". Fans (according to the article in The Mail On Sunday circa summer of 1990) were calling the London radio channels asking for the original to be played instead. Everett had secured an indie label deal (Trumpet Records-unreleased) and a new single "Don't Cry Now" had been recorded penned by Larry Weiss. In connection to the preceding events, Everett was booked and aired a twenty minute appearance on the then, hit TV show Current Affair. She was then booked to the star spot for the 1991 Chicago Blues Festival which aired live worldwide on over 400 PBS radio channels, marking Everett's last live appearance on radio.

Later that year, two concerts were booked for consecutive weekends in late October 1991; one at Trump's Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, the other at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. All had been arranged through management and Charles McMillan, Jerry Butler's longtime friend and personal manager. Everett declined to show for engagements citing stage fright. Despite exposure, she was unable to resurrect her career because of health issues.

In 2000, she made her last public appearance on the PBS special Doo Wop 51 along with her former singing partner, Jerry Butler, which, according to The Independent, a UK based newspaper (circa August 2001) was met with raves about the brief reunion where she "brought the house down" (quoted from The Independent.)

Everett died at her home in Beloit on August 19, 2001; she was 61 years old.(Info Wikipedia)

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Terry Stafford born 22 November 1941


Terry LaVerne Stafford (22 November 1941 – 17 March 1996), was an American singer and songwriter. A native of Hollis, Oklahoma, he is best remembered for his 1964 hit song, 'Suspicion.' The song which was originally recorded by Elvis Presley, became Stafford's only hit song and a Top Ten single.

Stafford grew up in Amarillo, Texas, and then moved to Los Angeles, California, after high school, so that he could pursue a music career. Stafford began performing at social events and local dances, until he got his break in 1964, to record the single, 'Suspicion.' which had previously been recorded by Elvis Presley,The song was remastered by a local Disc Jockey and was released on the Crusader record label. It made it to number 3 in the U.S. and number 31 in the UK Singles Chart.

"Suspicion," with a vocal by Stafford reminded many listeners of Presley and it had the unusual distinction of being at #6 on the Hot 100 on 4 April 1964, just below the Beatles when they made history by holding down the entire top 5. His follow-up, "I’ll Touch a Star" made number 25 in America.

He later turned to acting and writing, he appeared in the film, "Wild Wheels," and wrote the song, 'Big In Vegas,' for
country singer Buck Owens. In 1973, Stafford signed with the Atlantic Record Company and released a country album entitled, "Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose," with the title track landing on the Top 40. He also the wrote the song, 'Amarillo By Morning,' which was later a major hit for country singer George Strait. The song was named "#12 country song of all-time" by Country Music Television. 

 In 1974, after a year or so with the Atlantic Record Label, Stafford left music. Stafford passed away in Amarillo, Texas, on March 17, 1996, from the effects of liver problems. Stafford's other recordings include, 'If You Got The Time,' 'Am I Fooling Myself,' 'Kiss Me Quick,' 'For Your Love,' 'Pocket Full Of Rainbows,' 'Hoping,' 'Sospeto,' and 'Soldier Boy.' (edited from Wikipedia and various sources)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Vivian Blaine born 21 November 1921

Vivian Blaine (November 21, 1921 – December 9, 1995) was an American actress and singer best known for originating the role of Miss Adelaide in the musical theater production Guys and Dolls.

Born Vivian Stapleton, the cherry-blonde-haired Blaine appeared on local stages as early as 1934 and was a touring singer with dance bands starting in 1937. In 1942, her agent and soon-to-be husband Manny Franks signed her to a
contract with Twentieth Century-Fox, and she relocated to Hollywood, sharing top billing with Laurel and Hardy in Jitterbugs (1943) and starring in Greenwich Village (1944), Nob Hill (1945), and State Fair (1945), among other films.

Following her Fox years, Blaine returned to the stage, making her Broadway debut in the Frank Loesser musical Guys and Dolls in 1950. Her character Adelaide has been engaged to inveterate gambler Nathan Detroit for 14 years, a condition which, according to her song "Adelaide's Lament", can foster physical illness as well as chronic heartbreak. After the show's 1200-performance run on Broadway, in which she starred
opposite Sam Levene as Nathan Detroit and Robert Alda as fellow gambler Sky Masterson, she reprised the role in London's West End in 1953, and then on film in 1955, with Frank Sinatra playing Nathan and Marlon Brando in Sky's role.

Blaine also appeared on the Broadway stage in A Hatful of Rain, Say, Darling, Enter Laughing, Company, and Zorba, as well as participating in the touring companies of such musicals as Gypsy. As she reached age 50, her television career took off, with guest appearances on shows like Fantasy Island, Murder She Wrote and The Love Boat, and a recurring role in the cult hit Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. On the 25th annual Tony Awards in 1971, she
appeared as a guest performer and sang "Adelaide's Lament" from Guys and Dolls, providing a visual recording of the performance for posterity.

Blaine in her later years was managed by Rob Cipriano and L'Etoile Talent Agencies in New York City. Cipriano spent the early 1980s developing projects for Blaine including Puppy Love a TV sitcom with Jake LaMotta and Pat Cooper. She always shared in meeting that working with Cipriano reminded her working with her first husband Manny Franks.

Blaine's first marriage, to Franks, lasted from 1945 to 1956. She then married Milton Rackmil, president of Universal Studios and Decca Records, in 1959, and recorded several
albums prior to their 1961 divorce. In 1973, Blaine married Stuart Clark. In 1983 she became the first celebrity to make public service announcements for AIDS-related causes. She made numerous appearances in support of the then fledgling AIDS-Project Los Angeles (APLA) and in 1983 recorded her cabaret act for AEI Records which donated its royalties to the new group; this included the last recordings of her songs from Guys and Dolls. 

She retired in 1984. She died 9 December 1995 in New York City, New York, from congestive heart failure. Her prior albums for Mercury Records have all subsequently been reissued on CD. (Info Wikipedia & IMDB)

Here's A Bushel And A Peck from Guys and Dolls [Original Broadway Cast] (1951). Charted in July 1953 in the UK & peaked at # 12. Vivians only UK charting single.


There are a good selection of film clips of Vivian on You tube. I have chosen Vivian Blaine as Emily
(from 20th Century Fox DVD "State Fair")


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Kathie Kay born 20 November 1918

Kathie Kay, (b. Kathleen Thornhill; 20 November 1918, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire – 9 March 2005, Largs, Scotland), was a Scottish singer, best known for her television appearances in the Billy Cotton Band Show during the 1950s and 1960s.

Bright, attractive and blessed with a personality that brightened many television programmes, Kathie Kay was a star who maintained a homespun Scottish image and became one of the best-known names on British television. She joined the Billy Cotton Bandshow in 1949 and was its resident singer till 1968. The programme started on the Light Programme on Sunday lunchtime and, such was its popularity on the radio that it was transferred to a prime slot on BBCTV on Saturday evening.

Along with stars such as Russ Conway and Alan Breeze, Kay added a spark of vitality and fun. She sang catchy ballads and with her bubbly personality admirably fitted in with the antics of the sketches. More important Kay matched the host, the ebullient Billy Cotton, for energy and fun.
Kathie Kay came from Glasgow and got bookings in local clubs. Kay was booked to appear with such stars of the era as George Formby and Harry Lauder. In the late Forties as Connie Wood she toured with Hughie Green in his show His Gang. It was from there that Billy Cotton heard her and recognised a real comic talent with a most attractive voice. She became an indispensable part of the Bandshow. The joyous nature of the show was set by Cotton’s raucous intro — “Wakey Wakey” — followed by an uptempo — almost a gallop — from the orchestra. They set the mood of the show and it regularly had audiences of more than 20 million.

 Kay lived with her husband in the Kelvin Court apartments
in the West End of Glasgow, alongside other Scottish entertainers like Harry Gordon, Tommy Morgan, Calum Kennedy, Jack Milroy, Mary Lee and Kenneth McKellar.Although devoted to her family Kay flew to London once a week for the show.
Her voice had a sultry and alluring quality that added a 
certain style to her delivery. On TV and in cabaret she sang popular songs from the Hit Parade and recorded hits such as We Will Make Love, All My Life and (particularly successful) A House with Love In It. She made several recordings of traditional Scottish songs. For many years Kay had her own programme on Scottish Television where she was dubbed “the Fireside Girl”. She made a rare appearance when she came out of retirement to top the bill at a charity show in Johnstone Town Hall in May 1984.

She was married to the impresario Archie McCulloch who died in 1994. Kay, who had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for 15 years and was a resident of Warren Park Nursing Home,Largs, Ayrshire, where she lived until her death.Even when she fell victim to Alzheimer’s and lost her memory, Kathy still sang to her fellow residents, reviving musical memories of earlier days. (Info edited from various sources, mainly The Times Online.)

I had nothing of Kathy's recordings in my library, but did find this courtesy of the "Lord Of The Bootsale" blog. A 1959
recording of "Come Home To Loch Lomond and Me."