Composer / Country Singer / Music Producer / Singer
Date Of Birth:
13 October 1927
Date Of Death:
10 October 2022
Place Of Birth:
Best Known As:
Creator and leader of country music's The Anita Kerr Singers
Name at birth: Anita Jean GrilliAnita Kerr was a singer, composer, arranger and record producer who greatly influenced country music’s “Nashville Sound” during the 1950s and ’60s. Kerr began a musical life of piano and singing before she was in her teens, and appeared on her mother’s Memphis radio show in the 1940s before her own professional career. She formed a singing group and moved to Nashville by the time she was 20. There she worked with a choral group on the radio and then formed the Anita Kerr Singers. They recorded their first song in 1950. Signed to Decca Records in 1951, Kerr and her group sang backup for other country music artists in regular recording sessions. After 1956 they were frequent guests on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts TV show out of New York. From then until 1965 Kerr and her singers recorded thousands of sessions, backing up stars from pop and country, from Perry Como, Pat Boone and Al Hirt to Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson and Jim Reeves. Along the way, Kerr broke new ground as a producer, one of the few women in the field. After her contributions to Nashville, she headed to Los Angeles, where in the late 1960s Kerr won Grammys for the albums We Dig Mancini and Southland Favorites, and the single “A Man and a Woman.” She also collaborated with poet Rod McKuen on bestselling spoken word and easy listening albums (recorded under the name “The San Sebastian Strings”), and produced records for DOT Records. Kerr moved to Switzerland in 1970 with her second husband, and continued to record and perform in Europe until the late 1980s.
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