The Mystery Of Karen Chandler   12 comments

One of the things I enjoy most about digging into music history is the way the process sometimes leads me into unexplored territory. The latest example occurred while I was putting together a recent piece about pop star Mel Carter and ran across another singer, a mysterious lady who’d also had a best-selling record of Mel’s big hit, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me,” but a dozen years earlier.

At that time the singer was known as Karen Chandler, but she had performed earlier in her career as Eve Young, and was actually born Eva Nadauld. Although her birth date is unknown, she was a native of Idaho who attended Brigham Young University, which might have helped her pick her first stage name. In any case, by the time she made her first documented professional appearance — singing with Benny Goodman’s band on a 1946 radio show — Miss Nadauld was calling herself Eve Young.

Over the next several years Eve Young continued to make a name for herself, first by making more appearances with Goodman and later by working her way into early TV, gaining spots on variety shows like Musical Merry-Go-Round. She also managed to land a recording contract, which led to several successful records, among them “For You, for Me, for Evermore,” and “Cuanto la Gusta.” At some point along the way she’d also married arranger Jack Pleis, although the date is uncertain.

By 1950, Eve Young’s recording contract had expired and she was beginning to cool off a little, but she still continued to show up in key spots from time to time. One of her best was a spotlighted turn on TV’s Martin and Lewis Colgate Comedy Hour. (You can see her in the video below if you wait out Jerry’s long introduction).

In 1952 Eve Young decided to completely reinvent herself. She lightened her hair, changed her name to Karen Chandler, and managed to land a new recording contract. Her debut recording for Coral Records, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me,” rose up the charts into the Top Ten and became her biggest seller. It was followed by other solid successes like “Goodbye Charlie, Goodbye,” and “Why?”, but overall her record sales began to slip.

Trying something a little different, in 1956 she teamed up with country singer Jimmy Wakely on “Tonight You Belong to Me,” and the record did well but things pretty much wound down after that. Although she did attempt a brief comeback a few years later, by the late 1960s her career was over and she had disappeared from view.

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12 responses to “The Mystery Of Karen Chandler

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  1. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall in the apartments of either Richard Rodgers or Oscar Hammerstein as they witnessed this wacky concept of their plaintive little song. At least they were paid for its use…

  2. Ralph, I feel your pain…but my biggest problem wasn’t with “Hello, Young Lovers” but rather Karen’s hit song. Mrs. BG is a big fan of Mel Carter’s “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me,” and she threatened to brain me with a skillet when I kept playing Karen’s version.

  3. HAHAHA!! I can’t blame her!

  4. I was named after Karen Chandler. Hold me, Thrill me, Kiss me was my father’s favorite song.

  5. Thanks for writing, Karen.

  6. I knew this song had an origin on the charts somewher.My reasearch first led me to a British
    chart success in 1953 by Muriel SMith, but I see now that it was KAren who recorded it first. Almost as mysterious is the composer Harry Noble, whos bio and picture I cant find on the web..
    Thanks for the wonderful story on Karen.

  7. Appreciate your input. And you’re right about Harry Noble — even wikipedia has nothing, although it offers up the chance to write an article about him.

  8. Karen Chandler appeared on the Guy Lombardo TV show.
    As of today, December 26, 2010, she sang two songs on the Milwaukee Public TV station.

    • Is Karen Chandler who is now involved in regional theater the same Karen Chandler who sang “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me”?
      The face and voice seem the same but I don’t see how Karen Chandler who had that big hit record in the 1950s could possibly look so young today.

    • I haven’t seen the lady you’re asking about, but I’d guess the original would have to be in her eighties if she’s still around.

  9. I am karens son,she sang great,miss her

  10. I was in high school at 16 years old and loved “Hold me Thrill me, Kiss me”. I made up my mind walking down the halls that if I ever had a daughter,she would be Karen, and in 1960 my daughter was born and as I had said, she was named Karen Lynn. I still love that song but all through the years I didn’t know how to find out if she were still alive. I’ve played that song for my daughter and also gave her a tape with it on the music from 1952. I thought if she were still with us, I could tell her that story. It sounds from her son, she must be gone now. I do play it occasionally. I am now 75 years old, and Karen is 51. She will always remember how she was named. Just wanted to let you know my story.Please accept my sympathy on your mother. Thank you,
    Marjorie Havlicek.

    Marjorie S. Havlicek

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