Kathy Kirby

  • Real Name: Kathleen O'Rourke
  • Birth Date: 20th October 1940
  • Birth Place: Ilford, Essex
  • Kathy Kirby's musical career presents an example of just how capricious the musical tastes of record buyers can be.

    Kathy's professional singing career began shortly after leaving school when largely through her own efforts she secured a place as a singer with the Ambrose orchestra. She went on to work with other British big bands of the 1950s but the link with Bert Ambrose was never lost. When Ambrose decided to quit orchestral work in favour of management, Kathy was one of the most important artists the former bandleader had on his books.

    At a time when teenage record buyers were turning to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Kathy Kirby had a winning formula. She was undoubtedly a very good singer and was able to give a bright new sound to older songs. Her blonde, youthful but mature, good looks appealed little to teenagers, but their fathers all thought she was wonderful. This popularity was boosted by her television appearances in which her glossy lipstick produced such a shine that she was often referred to as 'Wet Lips'. The peak of her success came through an all music TV show called 'The Stars and Garter', an ITV production which tried to depict a night club atmosphere and in which Kathy was undoubtedly portrayed as the 'star'. The show was compered by comedian Ray Martine and included several other UK singing artists of the day like Vince Hill, and Tommy Bruce.

      This EP (DFE8611), "BBC's Song For Europe" was Kathy's third on that format. Unfortunately, its release also marks the beginning of this splendid singer's decline as a recording star.
    Sadly for Kathy her singles sales slumped towards the middle of the 1960s. She sang Britain's Eurovision song entry for 1965 and carried on with TV work, but her record sales never did recover. By the start of the 1970s the TV appearances of this under-rated singer had become few and far between and by the middle of the new decade her disappearance was totally complete. All manner of complicated reasons have been given for Kathy's fall from favour and her own story has been told in the Sunday newspapers. I think the main cause was simply that the infatuation of the nation's Dads for the glossy lipped singer was just all too short lived. Despite this, Kathy has returned to sing her wonderful hits at 1960s nostalgia concerts occasionally. Sadly, these now seem to be very rare events indeed.

    1950s & 1960s 45rpm UK Discography

    • Listings include UK 45 singles releases only
    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    • See lower list for EP releases

    Pye 7N15313 1960 Love Can Be/ Crush Me  
    Pye 7N15342 1961 Danny/ Now You're Crying  
    Decca F11506 1962 Big Man/ Slowly  
    Decca F11682 1963 Dance On/ Playboy #11
    Decca F11759 1963 Secret Love/ You Have To Want To Touch Him #4
    Decca F11832 1964 Let Me Go Lover/ The Sweetest Sounds #10
    Decca F11892 1964 You're The One/ Love Me Baby #17
    Decca F11992 1964 Don't Walk Away/ No Regrets  
    Decca F12087 1965 I Belong/ I'll Try Not To Cry #36
    Decca F12177 1965 The Way Of Love/ Oh Darling How I Miss You  
    Decca F12280 1965 Where In The World/ That Wonderful Feeling Of Love  
    Decca F12338 1966 Spanish Flea/ Till The End Of Time  
    Decca F12432 1966 The Adam Adamant Theme/ Will I Never Learn  
    Columbia DB8139 1967 No One's Gonna Hurt You Anymore/ My Yiddishe Momme  
    Columbia DB8192 1967 In All The World/ Time  
    Columbia DB8302 1967 Turn Around/ Golden Days  
    Columbia DB8400 1968 I Almost Called Your Name/ Let The Music Start  
    Columbia DB8521 1968 Come Back Here With My Heart/ Antonio  
    Columbia DB8559 1969 I'll Catch The Sun/ Please Help Me I'm Falling  
    Columbia DB8634 1969 Is That All There Is/ Knowing When To Leave  
    Columbia DB8543 1969 With You Beside Me/ More Than Ever Now  
    Columbia DB8600 1969 Tears Won't Wash Away My Heartache/ How Can I Say I'm Sorry  
    Columbia DB8647 1969 Sweet Memories/ Don't Say A Word  

    EP Discography

    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    • See Upper List For Singles releases

    DFE8547 1963 "Kathy Kirby"  
    Big Man/Playboy/Dance On/Love Me, Baby
    DFE8596 1965 "Kathy Kirby" Vol.2 #20
    Reach Out For Me/That Old Feeling/There's No Other Love/Shangri-La
    DFE8611 1965 "BBC TV's A Song For Europe" #9
    I'll Try Not To Cry/Sometimes/My Only Love/I Won't Let You Go/One Day/I Belong

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