Kay Starr Biography

Katherine LaVerne Starks, 21 July 1922, Dougherty, Oklahoma, USA. While she was still a child, Starr’s family moved to Dallas, Texas, where she made her professional debut on local radio before she had left school. In 1939 she was hired briefly by Glenn Miller when his regular singer, Marion Hutton, was sick. Starr made records with Miller, but was soon on the move. She spent brief spells with the bands of Bob Crosby and Joe Venuti, and attracted most attention during her mid-40s stint with Charlie Barnet. Among the records she made with Barnet was ‘Share Croppin’ Blues’, which was modestly successful. However, the record sold well enough to interest Capitol Records, and, from 1948-54, she had a string of hits with the label, including ‘So Tired’, ‘Hoop-Dee-Doo’, ‘Bonaparte’s Retreat’, ‘I’ll Never Be Free’, ‘Oh, Babe!’, ‘Come On-Aa My House’, ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ (US number 1 1952), ‘Comes A-Long A-Love’ (UK number 1 1952), ‘Side By Side’, ‘Half A Photograph’, ‘Allez-Vous-En’, ‘Changing Partners’, ‘The Man Upstairs’, ‘If You Love Me (Really Love Me)’ and ‘Am I A Toy Or A Treasure?’. In 1955 she switched to RCA Records, and went straight to the top of the charts in the USA and UK with ‘Rock And Roll Waltz’. Her last singles hit to date was ‘My Heart Reminds Me’ (1957). Starr sang with controlled power and a strong emotional undertow, which made her an appealing live performer. In the 60s she became a regular attraction at venues such as Harrah’s, Reno, and, as recently as the late 80s, she returned there, and also played New York clubs as a solo attraction and as part of nostalgia packages such as 3 Girls 3 (with Helen O’Connell and Margaret Whiting), and 4 Girls 4 (then joined by Kaye Ballard). In the spring of 1993, she joined Pat Boone, another popular 50s survivor, on The April Love Tour of the UK. She continues to perform in the USA on the supper club circuit, her voice still in fine form.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.