Another of the many tragedies that seem to occur too frequently in music is the fate of singer Beverly Kenney, who was a rising jazz star in the 1950s. She seemed to have a lot going for her — an outstanding voice and a singing style that meshed perfectly with the type of cool jazz that was then popular. But it all ended when she took her own life at just 28 years of age.
Hoping to find success in a musical career, the New Jersey native moved to New York upon reaching adulthood in the early 1950s. Her experience to that point had mostly consisted of handling singing telegrams, but she found a little work and eventually managed to cut a demo tape. Unfortunately it didn’t do much for her and she soon decided to try her luck in Miami, which was booming at that time.
It turned out to be a good idea. After first finding work appearing in clubs, Kenney was hired by the Dorsey Brothers to sing with their orchestra on a national tour. Although she only stayed for a few months, it was valuable experience for her and she ended up back in New York with a better resume. That led to collaborations with pros like George Shearing and it also allowed her to land a recording contract.
Over the next few years she was able to find some success in the studio and performing in clubs, but the rising popularity of rock and roll was causing a lot of turmoil in the music world. Kenney even wrote and recorded “I Hate Rock And Roll” in protest, but things began to go downhill for her. Always melancholy and quiet by nature, by the end of the decade she was in a down spiral, and in 1960 she ended it all with a deadly combination of alcohol and drugs.