Beverly Kenney: Died 52 Years Ago, Still Making New Fans

The late Beverly Kenney a jazz vocalist that is gaining new fans after her unexpected death 52 years ago.

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).




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Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

2 thoughts on “Beverly Kenney: Died 52 Years Ago, Still Making New Fans”

  1. Andrew, thank you for this wonderful intro to Beverly Kenney! It’s funny that the clip of “Tea For Two” grabbed you instantly like it did; when I heard BK start the chorus of “Do It Again” on her masterpiece “Beverly Kenney Sings for Playboys” (1958), I too fell for her instantly just like you did. “BK Sings For Playboys” is one of my very favorite 1950′s albums and I cannot recommend it more. It will be available as an MP3 download from Amazon.com December 14th for $7.99 US at:

    http://www.amazon.com/Beverly-Kenney-Sings-For-Playboys/dp/B003PT4ZCW/ref=sr_shvl_album_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291402004&sr=301-1

    BK’s “Tea For Two” on the “This is Vintage Now” compilation is from an album of unreleased material called “Snuggled On Your Shoulder”. It was originally released on SSJ Records in Japan and was reissued recently with extra tracks by Bill Reed’s Cellar Door Records imprint. You can get the Cellar Door Records version from CD Baby at:

    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/BeverlyKenney

    Thank you so much for discussing “This is Vintage Now” in this little article; it really means a lot to me that even though the compilation is not available to the public yet that it is already getting the word out on BK and the other fantastic performers represented on the album. “This is Vintage Now” is a soon-to-be-released compilation that features current artists who do 1950′s/60′s-style music that is re-engineered subtly for today’s audiences but still strongly in the spirit of the original music. There are two 1950′s artists on the compilation, Beverly Kenney and Carole Creveling, and they were added because they offer a fresh perspective on the period and therefore an alternative to the jazz reissue treadmill.

    We are currently gearing up for a fundraiser for the “This is Vintage Now” compilation that will offer rare music and memorabilia from the artists on the compilation to raise money for the initial advertising and admin costs of releasing the album officially. Watch our ReverbNation page (http:///www.reverbnation.com/thisisvintagenow), our Facebook fan page (type “This is Vintage Now” in Facebook and it comes up), or Vintage Allies Variety Broadcasting’s official site (http://www.vintageallies.com), which Andrew and I both write for, for more info as this progresses.

    Thank you again Andrew, and Merry Christmas (not “Happy Holidays”) to all!

    –David Gasten
    Producer, “This is Vintage Now”

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