Friday, 31 May 2013

Johnny Paycheck born 31 May 1938

Johnny Paycheck (May 31, 1938 – February 18, 2003) was a country music singer. He is most famous for recording the David Allan Coe song "Take This Job and Shove It".

Born Donald Eugene Lytle in Greenfield, Ohio, he began playing guitar by age six and made his first record at age 15. After a time served in the United States Navy (which included a court-martial for assault), he began performing under the name Donny Young.
The singer took a job with country music star George Jones, for whom he played bass and steel guitar for several years, co-writing Jones' hit song, "Once You've Had the Best." By 1964, he had changed his name to Johnny Paycheck, a name similar to Johnny Cash. Lytle reportedly re-named himself after the boxer, Johnny Paychek, who fought Joe Louis in 1940.
He recorded for tiny Hilltop Records, debuting on the charts in 1965 with "A-11." Johnny broke finally through six years later with the Top 5 smash "She's All I Got."

In 1972, "Someone To Give My Love To" also reached the Top 5, establishing him as a master of soulful, raw-edged country ballads.  A member of the Grand Ole Opry, Paycheck is best remembered
for his 1977 hit single, "Take This Job and Shove It" (written by David Allan Coe), which sold over 2 million copies and inspired a motion picture of the same name. "Colorado Kool-Aid" is another of his most famous songs. In his career, Paycheck recorded eleven songs that made it into country music's top ten chart, plus he co-wrote several successful songs for other country singers, including "Apartment #9," a hit for Tammy Wynette. He could write touching personal songs as well, like his 1986 hit "Old Violin," in which he compared himself to a used-up musical instrument, soon to be put away and never played again.

He appeared on the television show, The Dukes of Hazzard, as himself. The scene had him playing "Take This Job and Shove It" and arguing with Boss Hogg when the sheriff tried to give him a citation over the content of the song.

His life was often filled with turmoil and in 1985, he served prison
time again after shooting a man during a barroom argument in Ohio. The victim, Larry Wise, survived – with Johnny later insisting that Wise, little worse for the wear, returned to the bar later that evening with a simple Band-Aid over the wound. "Johnny Paycheck was country music,” noted Trace Adkins. “He didn't just sing it or perform it — he lived it." 

After his prison release from the Ohio shooting sentence in 1991, Johnny vowed to walk a straighter path. He cleaned up his high-octane lifestyle and became a born-again Christian. But in recent years, Johnny's life became overwhelmed with legal and health troubles. In 1990 he landed in bankruptcy, listing debts of
more than $1.6 million, most of it owed to the IRS. One of the few bright spots came in 1997 when he was welcomed as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Sadly, Johnny spent the last year of his life bedridden in a nursing home. In 2003, the singer died from complications due to asthma and emphysema at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center, age 64.  He was interred in Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Nashville. His burial was paid for by longtime friend George Jones. He left behind his wife
of 30 years, Sharon, and one son. 

There was never anything phoney about Paycheck’s music. He was one of those rare artists that wouldn’t sing it if he didn't feel it and acknowledged that much of his work was reflective of the life he lived. ‘That was me, them’s all life,’ he said a year before he passed away, ‘I regret a lot of that stuff I did.’ All too often Paycheck’s headline making exploits have over-shadowed his musical achievements. It is a great pity, for it just so happens that he was one of the mightiest honky-tonk singers of his era.

 He left a colourful legacy with some ace honky-tonk recordings. The ‘outlaw’ label he earned always transcended his legal troubles. ‘To me, an outlaw is a man that did things his own way, whether you liked him or not,’ he once said. ‘This world is full of people that want you to do things their way, not necessarily the way you want to do it. I did things my way.’ (Info edited from various sources mainly Wikipedia)

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Benny Goodman born 30 May 1909

Benny Goodman, born Benjamin David Goodman, (May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986) was an American jazz musician, known as "King of Swing", "Patriarch of the Clarinet", "The Professor", and "Swing's Senior Statesman".

The music of Benny Goodman is most closely identified with the years 1935-1945, when big bands played at dances and on the radio. The swing band functioned like an orchestra, with a leader and carefully arranged musical parts. Many had elaborate costumes and "signature" tunes that were especially popular on radio. But Goodman was more than a bandleader and soloist; he also
contributed to American musical history as a jazz clarinetist, composer, and performer of concert works for the clarinet.

Benjamin David Goodman was born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 30, 1909, into a large, poor Jewish family. His parents, who had moved to the United States from Eastern Europe, were Dora and David Goodman. Benny formally studied music at the famed Hull House (a settlement house that was originally opened by Jane Addams [1860–1935] to provide services to poor members of the community), and at the age of ten he was already a skilled clarinetist. At age twelve, appearing onstage in a talent contest, he did an imitation of the popular Ted Lewis. So impressed was bandleader Ben Pollack that five years later he sent for Goodman to join his band in Los Angeles, California. After three years with Pollack, Goodman left the band in New York City in 1929 to make it on his own.

In 1934 he led his first band on a radio series called "Let's Dance" (which became the title of Goodman's theme song). The band also played at dance halls and made a handful of records.

In 1935, armed with songs developed by some of the great African American arrangers, Goodman's band traveled the country to play their music. Not especially successful in most of its performances, the band arrived at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles in a discouraged mood. The evening of August 21, 1935, began coolly. Then, desperate to wow the unimpressed audience, Goodman called for the band to launch into a couple of fast-paced crowd
pleasers, and the reaction ultimately sent shock waves through the entire popular music world. Hundreds of people stopped dancing and massed around the bandstand, responding with enthusiasm.

That performance turned out to be not only a personal triumph for the band, but for swing music in general. Goodman's popularity soared; the band topped almost all the magazine and theater polls, their record sales were huge, they were given a weekly radio show, and they were featured in two big-budget movies. But an even greater triumph awaited—a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York that was to win respect for Goodman's music. The night of January 16, 1938, is now famous; the band outdid itself, improving on recorded favorites such as "King Porter Stomp" and "Don't Be That Way." The band finished the evening with a lengthy, classic version of "Sing, Sing, Sing."


Two of the finest musicians ever to work with Goodman were pianist Teddy Wilson (1912–1986) and vibraphonist-drummer Lionel Hampton (1909–2002). However, they played only in small-group arrangements because of the unwritten rule that did not allow white musicians and African American musicians to play together. Goodman was the first white bandleader to challenge segregation (keeping people of different races separate) in the music business, and as the rules eased he hired other African American greats.

Many top-notch musicians joined and left Goodman's band over the years, more so than in other bands. Most musicians found Goodman an unfriendly employer. He was said to be stern and
stingy with money. Moreover, Goodman was referred to in music circles as "the Ray," because of his habit of glaring at any player guilty of a "clam" or "clinker" (a wrong note), even in rehearsal. An outstanding clarinetist who was equally at home performing difficult classical music, Goodman was not very patient with anything that was not technically perfect.

After 1945 the clarinet was pushed into a minor role in bebop music, the new style of jazz that was becoming popular. Goodman struggled for a while to accept the new music, but in 1950 he decided to dissolve his band. From that time forward his public appearances were rare. They were mostly with small groups and almost always for television specials, recordings, or European
tours. His most celebrated tour, however, was part of the first-ever cultural exchange with the Soviet Union. 

 In 1962, at the request of the U.S. State Department, he went to the Soviet Union with a band. The trip was a smashing success and greatly helped American jazz become popular in Eastern Europe.

After his marriage in 1941, Goodman's home was New York City. His wife, Alice, with whom he had two daughters, died in 1978.
Goodman maintained his habit of performing on occasion. In 1985 he made a surprise and, by all accounts, spectacular appearance at the Kool Jazz Festival in New York. He died the following year of an apparent heart attack.

After his death, the Yale University library received the bulk of Goodman’s personal collection including many private never-before-heard recordings and rare unpublished photos.

(Info edited mainly from

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Mario "Harp" Lorenzi born 29 May 1894

Mario Harp Lorenzi (May 29, 1894 - June 1,1967) was a popular harpist of the 1930's, whose styles ranged from classical to ragtime and jazz. Unfortunately there is very little information concerning Mario so here is my humble offering edited from numerous sources.

Born in Florence, Mario was the son and student of Giorgio Lorenzi who composed many characteristic pieces for harp and also a method. His pupils included his son, Mario, who started playing
the harp when he was four. He received his diploma in harp in 1908 and became an Honarary member of the Royal Acadamy Of Music of Florence. In 1909 the Lorenzi family moved to London. It appears that during his early years, Mario was touring various theatres and concert halls and was known as the only syncopated harpist in Europe billed as " The King of Harpists."

During the 1920's Mario was living in Kensington and, at then the height of his fame, was living in North London. In 1923 he married a girl who's maiden name was Lachlan. In 1926, Lorenzi was invited by Jay Whidden, a popular bandleader in
the UK, to play with his band. Lorenzi mainly played alto sax or clarinet with the band, but his harp could first be heard on record on “I Don’t Want Nobody But You” recorded on October 12th 1926, one of the earliest appearances of a harp on a dance band recording. 

Mario also played with Fred Elizaldes band, but later made a series of recordings under his own name in the 1930s.  Mario had shown how well the harp can fit into a dance band, and give a touch of extra colour and originality. Here's "Some Of These Days" by Mario "Harp" Lorenzi & His Rhythmics (Vocalist: Marjorie Stedeford) Recorded: 26.09.1935
He had to give up playing in 1957 because of arthritis. He died in Rushton, Hertfordshire (aged 73).

As a "Jazz or Swing" musician, Mario was an anomaly inasmuch as the Harp rarely appears on the Jazz scene. In the U.S.A., perhaps the best known harpist is Adele Girard, who played with her husband, clarinetist Joe Marsala and his bands .(John Chilton, in his 'Who's Who of Jazz', has pointed out that Joe Marsala would occasionally use the pseudonym of Arpeggio Glissandi.) Of course there was also "Harpo" Marx, who while he didn't play 'Jazz', did play 'Pop" music.

Other Harpists "active" on the 1930s English scene included Marie Korchinska, and Sidonie Goossens, wife of conductor Hyam Greenbaum. Sidonie, principal harpist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra for fifty years, had recorded with Jack Hylton in 1936 ("Sweet Sue") and had played with Spike Hughes, Carroll Gibbons, Geraldo, and others.

If anyone has more detailed information about Mario Lorenzi please share.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Sonny Burgess born 28 May 1931

Albert Austin "Sonny" Burgess (born May 28, 1931) is best known as one of the original rock and roll recording artists for Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, and as one of the pioneers of rock and roll. He and his band, the Pacers, made a hit of his first recording, “Red Headed Woman,” and the flip side, “We Wanna Boogie,” both of which Burgess wrote. The record sold approximately 100,000 copies, a phenomenal number for that era. Burgess and the Pacers are still performing at various events in the United States and Europe.

Sonny Burgess was born on May 31, 1929, in Newport (Jackson County). His parents, Albert and Esta Burgess, raised him, his two brothers, and his three sisters on their farm near Newport. Burgess graduated from Newport High School in 1948. In 1950, he and three friends formed a boogie-woogie band they called the Rocky Road Ramblers. Those three friends were Kern Kennedy, Johnny Ray Hubbard, and Gerald Jackson. Both Hubbard and Kennedy became members of the original Pacers. In 2005, Kennedy was still with the Pacers, Jackson was the mayor of Tuckerman (Jackson County), and Hubbard was retired and living in Newport.

In 1954, following a stint in the Army (1951–53), Burgess re-formed the band, calling them the Moonlighters after the Silver Moon Club in Newport, where they performed regularly. The Silver Moon was part of a circuit—including the B&I Club, Mike’s 67
Club, and Porky’s Roof Top Club—in the Newport area made by many up-and-coming performers. Stars such as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Conway Twitty got their start on the Newport club circuit.

At that time, Elvis Presley was performing in clubs and school gyms to promote his releases, and the Moonlighters opened for him four times. Elvis liked what he heard and told Sonny the band should go to Memphis and talk to Sam Phillips of Sun Records. They followed his advice, and Phillips told them to get a larger band together and come back. Thus, the Pacers were born, consisting of Kennedy on piano, Hubbard on upright “slap” bass, Russ Smith on drums, Joe Lewis on guitar, and Jack Nance on trumpet. Burgess provided the vocals and played guitar. Lewis came up with the new name for the band, inspired by the Pacer
airplane. They played rhythm and blues and boogie-woogie type music. Sonny and the Pacers returned to Memphis and recorded “Red Headed Woman” in 1955. The record, personally recorded by Sam Phillips, was released in 1956, and they were on their way to fame.

As popular as their recordings were, they did not compare with the band’s energetic live show, unparalleled by the performers of that era. Their show included gyrating, stage sliding, and acrobatics. They even formed a human pyramid in the center of the dance floor without missing a beat in their music. They also had an act they called “Bug Dance,” in which they jumped into the audience while performing. Burgess was known, too, for his red hair, dyed to match his candy-apple red Fender guitar and his red suit.

Burgess married Joann Adams in 1956, and they raised two sons, Peyton and John. Sonny Burgess and the Pacers continued recording with Sun Records until 1959. In those four years, they recorded five singles. In addition to their first record, they recorded “Thunderbird,” “Ain't Got a Thing,” “My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It,” and “Sadie’s Back in Town.”


Burgess left the band in 1960 and began working with Conway Twitty, who was raised in Phillips County. He left Twitty in 1965 and formed his own band, the King’s Four. In 1972, he got what he called “a real job” as a salesman, and the King’s Four broke up in 1974. Burgess continued working as a salesman and playing music on the side until 1986, when he was invited to a show in Washington DC that included rockabilly music, where he made a big hit. After that, Burgess traveled all over the world and became a sensation in Europe.

In 1999, Burgess was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame of Europe. In 1998, the Smithsonian Institute made a video called “Rockin’ on the River” that brought Burgess and the Legendary
Pacers together again. In addition to Kennedy, the group now included Bobby Crafford, Jim Aldridge, Fred Douglas, J. C. Caughron, and Charles Watson II. They made two album-length recordings in the late nineties: They Came from the South and Still Rockin’ and Rollin’. In 2002, they were inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Jackson, Tennessee. In 2005, they performed at numerous events in Arkansas, Texas, and Tennessee and toured Europe. 

 Between performances, Burgess and his wife live in Newport, where he has spent most of his life. He currently hosts a radio show, We Wanna Boogie, for KASU in Jonesboro (Craighead County). Burgess was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro on May 7, 2011. (Info from

Monday, 27 May 2013

Ramsey Lewis born 27 May 1935


Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr. (b. May 27, 1935) is an American jazz icon, composer, and pianist. Has been referred to as "the great performer", a title reflecting his performance style and musical selections which display his early gospel playing and classical training (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, etc.) along with his love of jazz and other musical forms. Ramsey Lewis has recorded over 80 albums and has received five gold records and three Grammy Awards so far in his career.

Ramsey Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Ramsey Lewis, Sr. and Pauline Lewis. Lewis began taking piano lessons at the age of four. At 15 he joined his first jazz band, The Cleffs. The seven-piece group provided Lewis his first involvement with jazz; he would later join Cleffs drummer Isaac "Redd" Holt and bassist Eldee Young to form the Ramsey Lewis Trio.

The trio started as primarily a jazz unit and released their first album, Ramsey Lewis And The Gentlemen of Swing, in 1956. Following their 1965 hit The In Crowd (the single reached #5 on the pop charts, and the album #2) they concentrated more on pop material. Young and Holt left in 1966 to form the Young-Holt Trio and were replaced by Cleveland Eaton and Maurice White. White was replaced by Maurice Jennings in 1970.

By 1966, Lewis was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists, topping the charts with The In Crowd, Hang On Sloopy, and Wade In The Water. Many of his recordings attracted a large non-jazz audience. In the '70s, Lewis often played electric piano, although by later in the decade he was sticking to acoustic and using an additional keyboardist in his groups.

In addition to recording and performing, Lewis currently hosts a morning show on Chicago "smooth jazz" radio station WNUA (95.5 FM). His weekly syndicated radio program "Legends of Jazz," created in 1990, features recordings from artists such as David Sanborn, George Duke, Charlie Parker, Kurt Elling, Al Jarreau and Miles Davis. The show can be heard in 60 U.S. cities and overseas. On December 4, 2006, the "Ramsey Lewis Morning Show" became part of Broadcast Architecture's Smooth Jazz Network, simulcasting on other Smooth Jazz stations across the country for 
the first time. However, the show is still based in Chicago.

In 2006, a well-received 13-episode "Legends of Jazz" television series hosted by Lewis was broadcast on public TV nationwide and featured live performances by a variety of jazz artists.

Lewis is artistic director of Jazz at Ravinia (an annual feature at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois) and helped organize Ravinia's Jazz Mentor Program. Ramsey also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Merit School of Music, a Chicago inner-city music program. Early in 2005, the Ramsey Lewis Foundation was created to help connect at-risk children to the world of music. As an offshoot of that foundation, Lewis plans to form a Youth Choir and Youth Orchestra. 

In January 2007, the Dave Brubeck Institute invited Lewis to join its Honorary Board of Friends at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. In May 2008, Lewis received an honorary doctorate from Loyola University Chicago upon delivering the keynote address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony.

Lewis still lives in Chicago, Illinois, the city of his musical roots. He has seven children, fourteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. (info Wikipedia)

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Peggy Lee born 26 May 1920

Peggy Lee (born Norma Deloris Egstrom May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002) was an American Grammy award winning Jazz and Popular Music singer, songwriter, composer and actress.

Peggy Lee was of Scandinavian descent, her grandparents being Swedish and Norwegian immigrants. She endured a difficult
childhood and her mother died when she was four; when her father remarried she experienced a decidedly unpleasant relationship with her stepmother. Her father took to drink, and at the age of 14 she found herself carrying out his duties at the local railroad depot. Despite these and other hardships, she sang frequently and headed out to Hollywood in 1938, but despite a singing engagement at the Jade Room on Hollywood Boulevard the trip was not a success.

Leaving California, Egstrom relocated to Fargo in her home state where she appeared on the local radio station WDAY. The manager of the station changed her name to Peggy Lee and her career took
an upswing when she moved to Minneapolis, landing several engagements on the local club circuit. Another California visit was equally unsuccessful and she then tried Chicago where, in 1941, as a member of a vocal group, the Four Of Us, she was hired to sing at the Ambassador West Hotel. During this engagement she was heard by Mel Powell, who invited Benny Goodman to hear her. Goodman's regular singer, Helen Forrest, was about to leave and Lee was hired as her replacement. She joined the band for an engagement at the College Inn and within a few days sang on a record date. A song from this period, "Elmer's Tune", was a huge success. Among other popular recordings she made with Goodman were "How Deep Is The Ocean?", "How Long Has This Been Going On?", "My Old Flame" and "Why Don't You Do Right?".

Later, Lee married Goodman's guitarist, Dave Barbour. After she left Goodman's band in 1943, she had more successful records, including "That Old Feeling" and three songs of which she was co-composer with Barbour, "I Don't Know Enough About You", 
"It's A Good Day" and "Mañana". She also performed on radio with Bing Crosby. 

In the 50s she made several popular recordings for Decca Records and Capitol Records, the orchestral backings for many of which were arranged and conducted by Barbour, with whom she maintained a good relationship despite their divorce in 1951. Her 1958 hit single "Fever" was also a collaboration with Barbour. Her Black Coffee album of 1953 was particularly successful, as was Beauty And The Beat! a few years later. On these and other albums of the period, Lee was often accompanied by jazz musicians, including Jimmy Rowles, Marty Paich and George Shearing.  

 During the 50s Lee was also active in films, performing the title song of Johnny Guitar (1954), and writing songs for others including Tom Thumb (1958). She also made a number of on-screen appearances in acting roles, including The Jazz Singer (1952), and for one, Pete Kelly's Blues (1955), she was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress. However, her most lasting fame in films lies in her off-screen work on Walt Disney's Lady And The Tramp (1955), for which Lee wrote the song "He's A Tramp" and provided the voice for the characters of "Peg", the Siamese cats, and one other screen feline.

Her recording successes continued throughout this period even if, on some occasions, she had to fight to persuade Capitol to record them. One such argument surrounded "Lover", which executives felt would compete directly with the label's then popular version by Les Paul. Lee won out and her performance of her own
arrangement, played by a studio orchestra under the direction of Gordon Jenkins, was a sensation. Towards the end of the 50s, though, the intense level of work began to take its toll and Lee suffered a period of illness.

Throughout the 60s and succeeding decades Lee performed extensively, singing at concerts and on television and, of course, making records, despite being frequently plagued with poor health. Her voice, light with a delicate huskiness, offered intriguing contrasts with the large orchestral accompaniment that usually formed a part of a Lee performance. Over the years her repeated use of previously successful settings for songs tended to make her shows predictable but she remained a dedicated perfectionist.

In the early 80s she attempted a stage show, Peg, but it proved 
unpopular and closed quickly. In the late 80s she again suffered ill health and on some of her live performances her voice was starting to betray the ravages of time. For her many fans, it did not seem to matter: to paraphrase the title of one of her songs, they just loved being there with Peg. In 1992,

wheelchair-bound for the previous two years, Lee was persisting in a lawsuit, begun in 1987, against the Walt Disney Corporation for her share of the video profits from Lady And The Tramp. A year later, dissatisfied with the "paltry" £2 million settlement for her six songs (written with Sonny Burke) and character voices, she threatened to write a book about the whole affair. Meanwhile, she continued to make occasional cabaret appearances at New York venues such as Club 53.

In 1993 she recorded a duet with Gilbert O'Sullivan for his album Sounds Of The Loop. Six years later Lee once again started 
litigation for unpaid royalties, this time against her former record company Decca. By this point her performing career had finally been ended through a stroke suffered on 27 October 1998, and she remained in poor health until passing away at her Bel Air home in January 2002. The cause of death was given as a myocardial infarction.

Lee will be remembered as one of the greatest song stylists of the century, alongside such stellar artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter. (info mainly NME)

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Kitty Kallen born 25 May 1922

Kitty Kallen (born Katherine Kalinsky on May 25, 1922) was an American popular singer, who sang with a number of big bands in the 1940s, coming back in the 1950s to score her biggest hit, 1954’s “Little Things Mean A Lot”.

Born in Philadelphia to a Jewish family, she won an amateur contest as a child doing imitations of some singers of the day. When she brought her prize (a camera) home, her father refused to believe her and thought she had stolen the camera, so he punished
her severely. Later, when neighbourhood people came to congratulate her father, he realised that her story was true. Subsequently she sang (while still a child) on The Children’s Hour, a radio program sponsored by Horn & Hardart, a firm which had a chain of cafeterias in New York and Philadelphia.

As a pre-teen she had her own program on Philadelphia’s WCAU, and soon she sang as a vocalist with the big bands of Jan Savitt in 1936, Artie Shaw in 1938, and Jack Teagarden in 1940. (While with the Savitt band, she briefly was a roommate of Dinah Shore.)

She married Clint Garvin, who played clarinet in Teagarden’s band, and when Teagarden fired Garvin, she left as well. The marriage was annulled. Kitty later married Budd Granoff, famous publicist,
agent, and TV producer. They were married over forty-five years, until Budd’s death in 1996. After a short stay with Bobby Sherwood, she joined the Jimmy Dorsey band, replacing Helen O’Connell. Though only a teenager at the time, she was the vocalist for one of Dorsey’s big hits, “Besame Mucho.” Most of her singing assignments were in duets with Bob Eberly, and when Eberly left to go into the service toward the end of 1943, she joined Harry James’ band where she struck gold again with a pair of dreamy Hit Parade toppers, "I'm Beginning to See the Light" and "It's Been a Long, Long Time." Two additional hits followed -- "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" and "I'll Buy That Dream" -- both of which were in the same mold as her previous features.   


She became a popular artist on radio, film, and night clubs, but lost her voice at the height of her career. She eventually made a comeback when a contract with Decca paid dividends with a song written by a Richmond, Virginia disc jockey and a music editor for the Richmond Times-Dispatch called "Little Things Mean A Lot" was recorded in the spring of 1954. The record was a monster hit, one of the biggest of the post war era that stayed at the number one spot for nine consecutive weeks and remained on the charts for close to seven months. It sold more than two million copies and certainly cemented Kallen's place in pop music history.

Four months later it was Kitty Kallen again with a million selling national hit - "In The Chapel In The Moonlight" on Decca #29130. The record reached the number four position and remained on the charts for four months. She was voted most popular female singer in Billboard and Variety polls.

Kallen proved popular on television and was a regular on the Fred Allen television program Judge for Yourself. although by the mid-'50s, she began to be swept aside by rock-oriented pop music. She made brief comebacks in 1959 with Columbia and 1962 with
RCA, but 1963 was the last year for her on the pop charts, with "My Colouring Book." Her final album was Quiet Nights, a bossa nova-flavoured release for 20th Century Fox Records. Following these successes, she was forced to retire permanently due to a lung ailment.

During Kitty’s height of popularity, there were three impostors who billed themselves as Kitty Kallen. When one of them (Genevieve Angostinello) died, it was reported that Kitty Kallen had died. That is where the mis-information about Kitty’s birth name was born.

At the time of writing Kitty Kallen is believed to be living in Silver Spring, Maryland at a retirement community called, Leisure World.  For her recording work, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

So - it had been quite a career. Almost a quarter century of recordings that moved through the big band years, the post war pop scene, the first wave of rock 'n roll, and at the birth of modern rock. Kitty Kallen was a recurring symbol of American pop music for the ages. If she had only been responsible for her 1954 hits that would have been memorable, but the total legacy of her recorded output from the thirties to the sixties make her a vocal stylist for the ages. (info edited from mainly Wikipedia, All Music & J.C.Marion @ earthlink)

Here is a clip taken from the RKO "screen liner" (short) featuring Jan August on piano and Kitty Kallen singing. Found at Oakleigh market (Melbourne, Australia). Professionally transferred to digital video. Kitty sang with many big name bands of the time and it is believed that this is the only 'clip' of Kitty Kallen to be found on the Internet. Thanks to  Kerrie O'Keefe who originally uploaded this to YouTube.