Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kay Starr (Kathryn LaVerne Starks)

Kay Starr is the wonderful, born American Indian,who had the commanding voice on such recordings as "Rock and Roll Waltz" and "Wheel of Fortune," as well as a few earlier recordings with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, with Glenn himself, when he hired her to take the place of Marion Hutton when she was ill. The two recordings were "Love with a Capitol You" and "Baby Me"which I played in my old Mercedes back in 1979 while I was on my way to meet Kay for the first time. She was performing live at the Harry Chapin Theater in Huntington, New York. Her voice was sweet and soft, not like the voice she wound up with after singing for years with Charlie Barnet, who kept telling her to "keep going," no matter how it eventually ruined her voice and she had to start learning to sing all over again.It is now 2013 and Kay is 91 and dealing with dementia. But when I called her this day, July 25th, she somehow remembered me as I reminded her, after our interview, but before the show, that my son, Jimmy and I walked down to the nearby Burger King and brought her a few hamburgers. Who, even with dementia, who could forget that occasion. She was very hungry and those burgers revived her.Kay was also famous for "Bonaparte's Retreat " and  "Side by Side, every one a hit. "Wheel of Fortune" sold 5 million, and still sells today. Kay always says this about singing: "A good singer tells a story to music as people like to hear things they can identify with, and that's the story." It was just a pleasure talking with Kay Starr on her birthday. This child of the great depression had dreams and they were fulfilled. She sang with the Mills Brothers, and Helen O'Connell, Rosemary Clooney, and Margaret Whiting as one of Four Girls Four. Pick up one of her recorded albums and sit back and enjoy the music of Kay Starr.   


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