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Kay Starr

A solid jazz singer whose early recordings tended to be forgotten after her ascendancy into the commercial sphere during the mid-'50s, Kay Starr was among the first pop singers to capitalize on the "rock fad" with her 1955 novelty "Rock and Roll Waltz." Her biggest hit came with the era-defining "Wheel of Fortune," a prime slice of '50s adult pop with a suitably brassy reading. Born in Oklahoma, she moved to Dallas at a young age and made her debut on radio while still in school. A brief stay with Glenn Miller & His Orchestra precipitated her working with groups led by Bob Crosby, Joe Venuti, and finally Charlie Barnet. She recorded a few numbers with Barnet that earned her a solo contract with Capitol.

By 1948, Starr made her Your Hit Parade breakthrough with "You Were Only Foolin' (While I Was Falling in Love)." Subsequent hits like "Hoop-Dee-Doo," "Oh, Babe!," and "I'll Never Be Free" (the latter with Tennessee Ernie Ford) framed her in an emerging vein of the popular market that also looked back to traditional country and folk. In 1952, "Wheel of Fortune" became her biggest hit and one of the signature songs of the '50s pop sound. She struggled to reach a similar chart peak for several years afterwards, though "Comes A-Long A-Love" topped the British charts. With her move to RCA in 1955, the comical "Rock and Roll Waltz" spent several weeks at number one. It was her last major hit, followed by just one additional Top Ten entry, 1957's "My Heart Reminds Me." By the 1960s, she had begun to concentrate more on performing (especially in Las Vegas) than recording, despite moving back to Capitol in 1961. She subsequently played several oldies packages, including the 3 Girls 3 tour with Helen O'Connell and Margaret Whiting. Kay Starr died at her home in Los Angeles in November 2016; she was 94 years old. ~ John Bush
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Capitol Collectors Series

1. I'm The Lonesomest Gal In Town

2. You've Got To See Mamma Ev'ry Night

3. You Were Only Fooling

4. So Tired

5. Hoop Dee Doo

6. Bonaparte's Retreat

7. Mississippi

8. I'll Never Be Free

9. Wheel Of Fortune

10. I Waited A Little Too Long

11. Kay's Lament

12. Fool, Fool, Fool

13. Comes A-Long-A-Love

14. Side By Side

15. Half A Photograph

16. Allez-Vous-En

17. When My Dreamboat Comes Home

18. Changing Partners

19. The Man Upstairs

20. If You Love Me (Really Love Me)

21. Toy Or Treasure

22. Lazy River

23. Foolin' Around

24. Crazy

25. The Rock And Roll Waltz

x

Track List: Swingin' With Kay Starr

1. Sweet Lorraine

2. After You've Gone

3. I Cried For You

4. There's A Lull In My Life

5. Love Me Or Leave Me

6. All Of Me

7. Honeysuckle Rose

8. Baby, Won't You Please Come Home

9. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)

10. St. Louis Blues

12. Sunday

13. There's Yes, Yes In Your Eyes

17. Three Letters

18. If Anyone Finds This (I Love You)

Comments

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My sincere condolences.
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My late husband knew her and we called her once but she said oh George, I don't want to talk about 'those days' anymore:...s h e was happily married at the time and still in good health. I'm sure she still had that wonderful voice.
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Pe
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She has such great range with her vocal cords. She can fit as many words as necessary into a line, so beautifully, and melodically. There has never been a singer , that's better than Kay Starr ! Some people sing with a stone heart , some sing with a flesh heart, she sings with a flesh heart. The flesh heart is filled with "The Spirit" , a God given gift. So blessed!
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I love "Release Me" , she's singing W/ Tennessee Earnie Ford . Great duo !
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She's. My favorite of all times !!! I love Wheel of Fortune !
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So very good
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quatroamigo
Her best was the rock & roll waltz
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rbrockish
Her best in my opinion was I'll Never Be Free
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drkling4914
What about Napoleons Retreat?
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The Best!
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cameld35
Learned to love her in the early '5os when she was billed as The Memphis Belle. My favorite-Bon a p a r t e s Retreat.
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A superb belter, with lots of power and an interesting style. She always reminded me of Dinah Washington in her vocalizing. I think she could have been even bigger than she was if someone had given her direction on stage presence. She moved her hands in a weird way. But who cares when you're listening to her unique voice?
Report as inappropriate
One of the best singers of the "fabulous fifty's"
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love her!
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Baaaaa
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jbokeefe9
Kay Starr is great, loved her songs in high school and still
love to hear them
Report as inappropriate
joburk223
I loved her song, "Wheel of fortune". Brings back lots of memories!

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