She belonged

English singer Kathy Kirby, born on this date in 1938, gave off a distinct air of “What if Marilyn Monroe could actually sing?” Same shock of wheaten hair, same pin-up curvature, but seriously high-quality pipes, sort of a Brit version of Doris Day. In fact, Kathy’s biggest hit, in late 1963, was a Doris Day cover, an amped-up version of “Secret Love”:

“Secret Love” made #4 on the official UK charts, helped by pristine Peter Sullivan production and guitar work by Jimmy Page. In 1965, she took “I Belong” to the Eurovision Song Contest, where it came second to the entry from Luxembourg; after that, the hits dried uo, but she continued as a television personality.

Kathy Kirby, singing pinup

Cover of Kathy Kirby's Vol. 2 EP, 1964

Kathy Kirby, sitting just offstage

None of Kathy’s hits made it across the Atlantic, but her late-1965 flop “The Way of Love” got some American airplay and landed at #88 in Billboard:

Most of us who bought it back then, I suspect, found it on the 1967 London/Parrot Records compilation The Greatest Hits from England.

Kathy Kirby went into seclusion after retiring from show biz, and died, reportedly of a heart attack, in 2011. She was seventy-two.

4 comments »

  1. John Salmon »

    20 October 2018 · 4:26 pm

    Interesting treatment of “Secret Love”. The only straight version that works is Sinatra’s, so you might well do something completely different.

  2. hollyh »

    23 October 2018 · 8:17 am

    Sinatra. It’s good to live in an age when I can just go to YouTube and listen immediately to that version. Sweet.

  3. formwiz »

    27 October 2018 · 5:27 am

    Hate to tell you, but “The Way of Love” got a lot of play in Philadelphia. May not have domne well elsewhere, but it killed ’em in the Quaker City.

  4. CGHill »

    27 October 2018 · 11:14 am

    It had to have done well somewhere, simply to get the lowly chart placing it did. I remember it getting some meager airplay in the Carolinas.

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