Last week I visited David Gasten’s website This Is Vintage Now website and listened to Beverly Kenney a singer I had never heard sing previously.
As soon as I heard her sing the first few words of Tea For Two I knew she was special and that her voice reminded me of Joni James.
Beverly Kenney sings the American songbook classic, More I See You:
Beverly Kenney was born January 29, 1932 in Harrison, New Jersey and got her start working for Western Union singing Happy Birthday over the phone.
The Dorsey Brothers heard her sing and signed her and she sang with them for several months on the big band circuit. Big band leaders were very particular about the singers who sang with their orchestra so that tells me she was a very good singer.
She recorded her first album with Johnny Smith on Decca Records named Beverly Kenney Sings For Johnny Smith.
Rock and roll may have made a lot of singers rich but Beverly Kenney was a victim of rock and roll since her music no longer got the airplay and recognition it deserved.
Along with many others who sang jazz vocals rock and roll ended any dreams of stardom for Kenney. It is safe to say that Kenney may have been a star for years in the jazz vocals field before the advent of rock and roll.
Instead her life ended tragically on April 13, 1960 after overdosing on alcohol and Seconal. Fifty-two years have passed since her death but the internet has made it possible for a whole new legion of fans to discover her music.
Beverly singing ‘Tis Autumn with Johnny Smith playing the guitar accompaniment to her vocal:
She has left a legacy of her music for her present fans and those who will discover her music in the future thanks to people like David Gasten who are keeping her memory alive with his This Is Vintage Now website.
Her music isn’t cheap since Ebay currently has some of her recordings priced from $4.25 to $488.69 as of today (December 31, 2012).