Last week saw the passing of a 1960’s pop icon with whom I shared a surname, but sadly not any musical ability.
Kathy Kirby was actually born Kathleen O’Rourke (so strictly speaking we didn’t even share a surname... remind me why I’m writing this blog..?!) on 20th October 1938. Her “big break” came at the age of sixteen when she cheekily asked bandleader Bert Ambrose if she could sing with his band. Her two impromptu songs earned a rapturous ovation from the audience and within weeks she was touring with Ambrose who became her manager, close friend and (despite an age gap of over forty years) lover.
He guided her to worldwide fame during the early/mid 60s, a time she was dubbed “The Golden Girl of Pop”. Her biggest hit was Secret Love, which reached no.4 in the British Charts in 1963; she represented the United Kingdom (and finished second with I Belong) in the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest in 1965 as well as recording the theme turn for Adam Adamant Lives!.
Ambrose died in 1971 and Kathy’s life – and career – spiralled downhill. Her later years were spent almost reclusively in London, but her death at the age of 72 prompted some lovely tributes from some of those who had known her...
Kathy Kirby 1938-2011
And finally... Kathy’s looks were apparently compared to Marilyn Monroe – can’t see it myself – but do you know the identity of the stunning young woman at the foot of the page?
Well you can award yourself unlimited points if you recognised France Gall (born Isabelle Gall in 1947), who represented Luxembourg in the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest; her rendition of Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son (“Wax Doll, Sawdust Doll”) earned 32 points, six more than Kathy’s United Kingdom runner-up...
Seriously..? You knew who it was..?
All my own work... almost.