Sands, Jodie

An old color photo of a white woman with dark hair gazing into the middle distance

Born Eleanor DeSipio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sands’s father was an opera singer, and she received classical training with the hopes of one day performing at the Met. By 1955, she was working the club and cabaret circuit in the northeastern United States and in Canada. As she gained notice for appearances on local television in Philadelphia in the mid-fifties, Sands also began working with Bob Marcucci—who also discovered Fabian—and Peter DeAngelis at Chancellor Records. After that, it appears she focused her career mainly on popular music.

Starr, Kay

A glamor shot of a white woman in a fur stole looking over her shoulder at the camera

Born Katherine La Verne Starks on a reservation in Oklahoma, Kay Starr was raised in Texas and Tennessee and absorbed many of the musical styles popular in the American South and Southwest. She typically identified herself as Native American (Choctaw, Cherokee, and Iroquois)—along with what one newspaper described as “a small but potent flow of Irish.” According to a syndicated article about her published in 1964, the family lived on about $8 a week during the Depression. Starr was a precocious young musician, regularly heard live on the radio in Dallas, Fort Worth, and later in Memphis.

Stevens, Dodie

A young white woman with dark brown hair in a posed studio headshot

Dodie Stevens was born Geraldine Anne Pasquale in Chicago in 1946. She recalls elder family members telling her that she could sing before she could talk, and she began taking music lessons at the age of 5.  Her professional career started at an equally precocious age: at 7 or 8, she began auditioning in the Los Angeles area for television shows, making her first national appearances on the Frankie Laine Show and Art Linkletter’s House Party. Her break came, however, when she appeared on a local show at the age of 11 and was seen by an executive from Crystalette Records.

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