Hillbilly Singer Beloved By Patsy Cline Passes Away

Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

While Kay Starr described herself as a “hillbilly singer,” she managed to cross over to multiple genres. Jazz, country, blues, and rock all welcomed her with open arms due to her incredible talent. In fact, she was a beloved artist of late country legend Patsy Cline, with the team behind her Facebook page writing she was “a huge fan.”

After years of providing us with hit songs such as “Wheel of Fortune” and “Rock and Roll Waltz,” Starr passed away at her home in Los Angeles on Thursday (November 3) at age 94. Her daughter Katherine Yardley confirmed the news, saying she passed away due to complications of Alzheimer’s.

Born on July 21, 1922 in Dougherty, Oklahoma, Starr started singing as a child. Her aunt heard her singing one day and entered her in a radio contest, making Starr a radio sensation when she was only seven years old.

Starr’s family moved to Memphis when she was a teenager, which is where her singing career really took off. Her big break came years later, when she recorded the country song “Bonaparte’s Retreat,” which sold a million copies.

Country music became Starr’s new home after she released her rendition of “Bonaparte’s Retreat.” She experienced further success in the genre after she recorded four duets with Tennessee Ernie Ford. The hits kept on coming, and Starr continued performing into her 80s.

Starr’s only immediate survivor is her daughter, Katherine. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Katherine, Starr’s loved ones, and her fans during this sad time.