The Soundtrack For The Baby Boomer Generation

Step back to a time when singers were as bright as the stars in the heavens
and the music they sang was really swingin'. Stacks of wax to fit every occasion!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pretty Kitty

Artist: Kitty Kallen
Song: I Never Was The One (b-side) (a-side is Crying Roses)
Label: Decca 9-30516 (Sample Copy - Not For Sale)
Number: 103,608
Songwriters: Johnny Graham - Frank La Motta
Time: 2:19
Released: 1958

Kitty Kallen was born in Philadelphia on May 25th, 1922, and while still a child sang on the radio program The Children's Hour. As a pre-teen she had her own program on Philadelphia's WCAU, and soon she sang as a vocalist with the big bands of Jan Savitt in 1936, Artie Shaw in 1938, and Jack Teagarden in 1940. After a short stay with Bobby Sherwood, she joined the Jimmy Dorsey band, replacing Helen O'Connell. Though only a teenager at the time, she was the vocalist for one of Dorsey's biggest hits, Besame Mucho. Most of her singing assignments were in duets with Bob Eberly, and when Eberly left to go into the service toward the end of 1943, she joined Harry James' band.
In the spring of 1949, Kitty Kallen had her first chart hit under her own name with Kiss Me Sweet, with Mitch Miller on Mercury Records #5265 which made it to the top 30. After the hits Juke Box Annie, with Harry Geller's orchestra, Our Lady Of Fatima, recorded with singer Richard Hayes and Jimmy Caroll's orchestra, and The Aba Dabba Honeymoon, things were looking up for Kitty Kallen. However she all but disappeared from the music scene, and there were many reports that she had lost her voice, or was tired of the business. In any event Kitty Kallen was absent from the music scene for more than two years.
In late 1953, a Decca release by Kitty, Are You Looking For A Sweetheart? charted into the top 30. That was just a warmup for the recently returned vocalist who was on the verge of a huge year in 1954. The song Little Things Mean A Lot was recorded for Decca in the spring of the year and was a monster hit, one of the biggest of the post war era. It stayed at the number one spot for nine consecutive weeks and remained on the charts for close to seven months. It sold more than two million copies and certainly cemented Kallen's place in pop music history.
1955 was the year that rock and roll took over and Kitty Kallen would seem to be just one more casualty from the pop music field, but she did have a couple more songs which charted. Go On With The Wedding was a top forty seller in early 1956. In 1959, she had a national hit with If I Give My Heart To You, which climbed into the top 35 best selling records. And in the early Sixties when the world was on the cusp of the British Invasion, RCA released My Coloring Book in early 1963 and Kitty Kallen was back on the hit charts. The recording lasted two months on the charts and got to the number 18 slot on the best sellers lists.
As of this writing, Kitty Kallen has retired from the world of show business and divides her time between her homes in New Jersey and Mexico where she spends the winter months. She has said that she had no gimmicks but sang from the heart. For her recording work, she received a "star" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. To many people, Kitty Kallen will always be Pretty Kitty Kallen.
Today's offering was from her late 1950's career and is a very touching song indeed. She presents it with her usual warmness and you just want to hug her. With an orchestra directed by Jack Pleis, she sings about falling in love for the first time. So be sure to get Kitty Kallen singing I Never Was The One, and you'll fall in love with the voice of Pretty Kitty.

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