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11 June 2024

(Until 11 June)

Kay Starr Earthy Singer – Phantom Dancer

Phantom Dancer Radio Show

Kay Starr was a jazz singer who started professional at age 15 and sang into her 80s. She also sang country and pop. The lyrics to ‘Bonaparte’s Retreat were written for her. She is your Phantom Dancer feature this week.

This is blog post 1001!

The Phantom Dancer is your weekly non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week.

LISTEN to this week’s Phantom Dancer mix (online after 2pm AEST, Tuesday 11 June) and weeks of Phantom Dancer mixes online at, at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

KAY

Kay Starr first sang in public at age seven for a talent contest, which she won.

Winning more talent contests lead her to have her on twice weekly show on WRR Dallas.

When she was 15 she was given her own ‘Starr Segment’ on WREC Memphis.

She changed her name to Starr because her real surname, Stark, kept being mispronounced.

During her high school years sang Hillbilly Music until she was discovered by jazz violinist Joe Venuti.

Starr performed in Venuti’s orchestra for the two summers of 1937 and 38 in the prestigious Hotel Peabody in Memphis.

Starr’s singing attracted the attention of Bob Crosby’s manager and had her join Crosby on the road. She went to New York City and played with Crosby’s band for two weeks until she was dismissed by the show’s sponsor for being considered “too earthy”.

You’ll hear her call a cat-calling soldier in the audience of one of today’s broadcasts, ‘a coward’.

Glenn Miller booked her as a substitute female singer while his regular performer, Marion Hutton, was ill.

Starr sang in Miller’s orchestra in the Glen Island Casino at age 16 and recorded two tracks. Neither were successful as the charts were written in Hutton’s key which was too high for Kay.

She moved to Los Angeles and worked in Venuti ‘s band until 1941, after which she signed with Wingy Manone’s band. (Read the Wingy Manone story in an earlier blog)

From 1943 to 1945 she sang with Charlie Barnet’s Ork retiring for a year after contracting pneumonia and later developing nodes on her vocal cords as a result of fatigue and overwork.

STARR

In 1946 Starr became a soloist.

She sang with Benny Goodman.

1947 saw her sign a contract with Capitol Records.

In 1950, she returned home to Dougherty OK and heard a fiddle recording of “Bonaparte’s Retreat” by Pee Wee King.

She liked it so much that she wanted to record it. She contacted Roy Acuff’s publishing house in Nashville and spoke to Acuff directly. He was happy to let her record it, but it took a while for her to make clear that she was a singer, not a fiddler, and therefore needed to have some lyrics written.

Acuff came up with a new lyric, and Bonaparte’s Retreat became her biggest hit up to that point, with close to a million sales.

In 1955, she signed with RCA Victor Records. However, at this time, rock-and-roll was displacing the existing forms of pop music and Kay had only two hits, Bonaparte’s Retreat and Rock’n’Roll Waltz.

She stayed at RCA Victor until 1959, hitting the top ten with “My Heart Reminds Me”, then returned to Capitol.

After rock-and-roll swept established performers from the charts, Starr appeared in the television series Club Oasis, with bandleader Spike Jones.

She recorded several albums in the late 50s, early 1960s.

After leaving Capitol for a second time in 1966, Starr continued touring in the US and the UK. She recorded several jazz and country albums on small independent labels, including How About This with Count Basie (1968).

In the late 1980s she performed in the revue ‘3 Girls’ with Helen O’Connell and Margaret Whiting.

She toured the United Kingdom in 1993 as part of Pat Boone’s ‘April Love’ Tour.

Her first live album, ‘Live at Freddy’s’, was released in 1997.

She sang with Tony Bennett on his album, Playin’ with My Friends (2001).

Two of her songs, “Powder Your Face with Sunshine” and “It’s a Good Day”, appeared in the 2007 movie Fido.

11 June PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney
LISTEN ONLINE
Community Radio Network Show CRN #658

107.3 2SER Tuesday 11 June 2024
12:04 – 2:00pm (+10 hours GMT)
National Program
5UV Adelaide Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4am
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4am
2BRW Braidwood Monday 3 – 4am
2YYY Young Monday 3 – 4am
7RPH Hobart Monday 3 – 4pm
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Monday 3am – 4 and 6 -7pm
2MCE Bathurst Wednesday 9 – 10am
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Friday 10 – 11am
and Sunday 11pm
Reading Radio (QLD) Friday 1am – 2
2RRR Ryde Friday 11am – 12
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
5LCM Lofty FM Adelaide Friday 1 – 2pm
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Saturday 4am – 5am
Denmark FM (West Australia) Saturday 10 – 11am
Repeat: Wednesdays 10 – 11pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
3BBR West Gippsland Sunday 5 – 6pm
2SEA Sapphire Coast Eden Sunday 9 – 10pm

Set 1
Claude Thornhill Orchestra
Medley: Just Me Just You + Exactly Like You + Tea for Two + St Louis Blues
Claude Thornhill Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Glen Island Casino
New Rochelle NY
AFRS Re-broadcast
Jun 1947
Peg ‘o My Heart
Claude Thornhill Orchestra (voc) Gene Williams
‘One Night Stand’
Glen Island Casino
New Rochelle NY
AFRS Re-broadcast
Jun 1947
How About You? + Rock-a-Bye BabeClaude Thornhill Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Glen Island Casino
New Rochelle NY
AFRS Re-broadcast
Jun 1947
At Sundown + Snowfall (theme)Claude Thornhill Orchestra (voc) Gene Williams‘One Night Stand’
Glen Island Casino
New Rochelle NY
AFRS Re-broadcast
Jun 1947
Set 2
Jean Sablon
Song of the Street
Jean Sablon
French Broadcasting System NYC
1954
La Fiacre
Jean Sablon
French Broadcasting System NYC
1954
Insensiblement
Jean Sablon
French Broadcasting System NYC
1954
Pigalle + Theme
Jean Sablon
French Broadcasting System NYC
1954
Set 3
Kay Starr
Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen
Kay Starr (voc) Charlie Barnet Orchestra
‘For The Record’
WEAF NBC NY
11 Sep 1944
A Sunday Kind of Love
Kay Starr (voc) Benny Goodman Quintet
‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
Jan 1948
Them There Eyes
Kay Starr (voc) Benny Goodman Quintet
‘Jubilee’
AFRS Hollywood
Jan 1948
I Can’t Get Started
Kay Starr (voc) Charlie Barnet Orchestra
‘For The Record’
WEAF NBC NY
11 Sep 1944
Set 4
Lenny Conn 
Forget-Me-Nots in Your Eyes
Lenny Cohn Orchestra (voc) Tommy Randall
‘One Night Stand’
Palladium Ballroom
Hollywood
AFRS Re-broadcast
5 Jun 1944
Poinciana
Lenny Cohn Orchestra (voc) Ellen
‘One Night Stand’
Palladium Ballroom
Hollywood
AFRS Re-broadcast
5 Jun 1944
Dancing in the Dark
Lenny Cohn Orchestra (voc) Tommy Randall
‘One Night Stand’
Palladium Ballroom
Hollywood
AFRS Re-broadcast
5 Jun 1944
I’ve Got Rhythm + Sound Off (theme)
Lenny Cohn Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Palladium Ballroom
Hollywood
AFRS Re-broadcast
5 Jun 1944
Set 5
Miles Davis
Open + Move
Miles Davis Quintet
Birdland
WJZ ABC NYC
16 May 1953
Tenderly
Miles Davis Quintet
Birdland
WJZ ABC NYC
16 May 1953
A Night in Tunisia
Miles Davis Quintet with Candido
Birdland
WJZ ABC NYC
16 May 1953
Set 6
Duke Ellington Records
The Mooche
Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra
Comm Rec
17 Oct 1928
Baby When You Ain’t There
Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra
Comm Rec
4 Feb 1932
Shout ‘Em, Aunt Tillie
Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra
Comm Rec
4 Jun 1930
Bugle Call Rag
Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra
Comm Rec
9 Feb 1932
Set 7
Boyd Raeburn
Dalvatore Sally (theme)
Boyd Raeburn Orchestra
Rose Room
Palace Hotel
KQW CBS San Francisco
27 Juk 1947
Out of this World
Boyd Raeburn Orchestra (voc) David Allen
Rose Room
Palace Hotel
KQW CBS San Francisco
27 Juk 1947
Baghdad
Boyd Raeburn Orchestra
Rose Room
Palace Hotel
KQW CBS San Francisco
27 Juk 1947
Stranger in Town
Boyd Raeburn Orchestra (voc) Barbara Jane
Rose Room
Palace Hotel
KQW CBS San Francisco
27 Juk 1947
Set 8
Dizzy Gillespie
I Waited for You (theme) + Our DelightDizzy Gillespie OrchestraRadio Sweden
Winter Palace
Stockholm
2 Feb 1948
I Cover the WaterfrontDizzy Gillespie Orchestra
Radio Sweden
Winter Palace
Stockholm
2 Feb 1948
Night in TunisiaDizzy Gillespie OrchestraBirdland
WCBS CBS NYC
Jun 1956
All Gigs
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Radio 2SER 107.3 Sydney
Directions

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