Saturday, May 21, 2011

FEATURE 81 - Kathy Kirby

I remember Kathy Kirby being a regular on the Billy Cotton Band Show on a Saturday night. My Mother hated her, mostly for her blaring vocal style, and the lip gloss. Was there lip gloss before Kirby? It lent a certain quivering shimmering quality to her mouth warbling.

In this early sixties clip, she sings her Bop Shoo Wop version of, Doris Day's - Secret Love. She bore one thing in common with Ms Day, she was a gay icon. Kirby's dress sense, with outfits often dripping with pearl drops or diamante, was theatrical. It sort of went with the vocal histrionics - lets go really really over the top here!

Kirby's decline from the seventies onwards, was, in retrospect, inevitable. With the arrival of singer songwriters, people lost interest in that manufactured sixties style of intense singing. All the major British singers of that period - Dusty - Sandie Shaw - Cilla - either went into enforced retirement, never to re-emerge, or diversified into TV or fashion. Kirby, defrauded of her money by her manager, went into a sad hearted obscurity.

But here she is in her hey day, walking precariously down the steep ramp of a TV set, unable to walk or dance properly, or move her arms more than a shrugs distance from her hips. 'What ever you do Miss Kirby keep it minimal, or you'll fall flat on your face in front of millions of viewers.'

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