Keith (singer)

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Keith
Birth name James Barry Keefer
Born (1949-05-17) May 17, 1949 (age 65)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres Pop
Years active 1966–present
Labels Columbia
Mercury
RCA
Website www.keith986.com

Keith (born James Barry Keefer, May 17, 1949 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States)[1] is an American vocalist. He legally changed his name to Bazza Keefer in 1988, in memory of his mother.[2][3]

Biography[edit]

Early days[edit]

Keefer earned his first recording contract with Columbia Records.[1] When Jerry Ross moved across to Mercury Records he took Keefer with him, and the singer soon appeared in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with his solo single, "Ain't Gonna Lie".[1]

Chart success[edit]

He is best remembered for his hit "98.6"; the recording was issued on the Mercury Records, and reached #24 in the UK Singles Chart in 1967.[4] It was considerably better received in his homeland – the single reached #7, and remained for 14 weeks in the bestsellers in the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[5] It sold over one million copies worldwide, earning a gold disc.[5] The track was written by Tony Powers (lyrics) and George Fischoff (music), arranged by Joe Renzetti, and was produced by Jerry Ross.[5] Its title relates to the normal human body temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.[6] The personnel on "98.6" included Artie Butler on organ and piano, Vinnie Bell on guitar, Joe Macko on bass, and Bobby Gregg on drums.

His debut album, 98.6/Ain't Gonna Lie, was also issued on the Mercury label.

At the height of his career, Keefer was making $15,000 a week, and getting his back slapped by a Beatle, who told him what a great record his "98.6" was.[7] "John Lennon was standing next to me in a urinal in London," he said.[7]

Later days[edit]

His 1968 second Mercury LP, Out of Crank, failed to sell well.[1] The low point in Keefer's life came when United States Army officials arrested him for draft evasion during a concert tour.[7] "I was making coffee for generals," said Keefer. When he got out, Keith did some independent recording and joined Frank Zappa's 1974 touring band. "I think they brought me in to commercialize Frank," Keefer said.[7] Contrary to popular belief he never sang in Zappa's band. Soon after he recorded three singles for Zappa's DiscReet Records label.

Keefer recorded one last album, The Adventures of Keith for RCA Records, with no luck, and then left the music industry until 1986, when an attempted comeback under his real name proved unsuccessful.[1]

He set up A.I.R. Records in 1986 in Redondo Beach, California, and produced albums for several local musicians. These included the singer-songwriter Chuck Hill, and Keith's drummer Shawn Smith, who were both from Denver, Colorado.

In the 1990s, the singer moved into the television industry, although he continues to play live dates.[3]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Keith and the Admirations

Year Title Peak chart positions Record label B-side
US UK
1965 "Caravan of Lonely Men" Columbia Records "Dream"

Keith

Year Title Peak chart positions Record label B-side Album
US UK AU
1966 "Ain't Gonna Lie" 39 Mercury Records "Our Love Started All Over Again" 98.6/Ain't Gonna Lie
"98.6" 7 24 25 "The Teeny Bopper Song"
1967 "Tell Me to mMy Face" 37 51 99 "Pretty Little Shy One"
"Daylight Savin' Time" 79 "Happy Walking Around" Out of Crank
"Sugar Man" "Easy as Pie"
"I'm So Proud" "Candy Candy"
1968 "The Pleasure of Your Company" "Hurry"
1969 "Marstrand" RCA Victor "The Problem" The Adventures of Keith
1974 "In and Out of Love" DiscReet Records "What Did You Do in the Revolution Dad?"

Albums[edit]

Year Album Billboard 200 Record label
1967 98.6/Ain't Gonna Lie 124 Mercury Records
Out of Crank
1969 The Adventures of Keith RCA Records
2004 Ain't Gonna Lie RPM Records

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Jason Ankeny (May 7, 1949). "Keith | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  2. ^ "Bazza Keefer – Biography". IMDB.com. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  3. ^ a b "The official Keith website! About Keith – Biography!". Keith986.com. May 17, 1949. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 297. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 207. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ a b c d "The Official Keith Site-Media: Where Are They Now..from Rolling Stone Magazine". Keith986.com. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 

External links[edit]