The country music world is in mourning this week after it was revealed that the self-described hillbilly singer Kay Starr passed away last Thursday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94 years-old.
Born in 1932, Starr’s career began in the big-band era of the 1930s and 1940s. She then soared to stardom as a pop and country singer before scoring her biggest hits in the emerging rock scene of the mid-1950s.
Though her style of performing eventually faded from the pop charts, Starr continued performing for decades until she was well into her 80s.
“When they brought in rock, hard rock and acid rock, I thought God was trying to tell me it was my turn to get off the stage,” she once told an interviewer. However, she never did end up retiring. Until the end of her life, Starr was completely devoted to music.
“I am a firm believer that a singer is no more than an actor or an actress set to music,” Starr once said. “They learn the story, they tell the story, and if they don’t tell the story right, people are not going to like it no matter what the melody is.”
Rest in peace, Kay Starr!