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Kenney's career began as a birthday singer for Western Union. After moving to New York City, she recorded a demo tape in 1954 with Tony Tamburello (the demo was released in its entirety in 2006 under the title Snuggled on Your Shoulder). By the end of the year, she moved to Miami and worked regularly at the Black Magic Room. For several months she toured with Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey before returning to New York, where she sang in clubs with George Shearing, Don Elliott, and Kai Winding.
From 1956–1960, Kenney recorded six albums, three for Royal Roost and three for Decca. Her first album, Beverly Kenney Sings for Johnny Smith (1956), was recorded with the quartet led by jazz guitarist Johnny Smith. She then began a residency at the Birdland jazz club accompanied by the Lester Young Quintet. Her television career consisted of one visit to The Steve Allen Show and one to Playboy After Dark. Allen wrote liner notes for her album Beverly Kenney Sings for Playboys (Decca, 1958) in which he commented, "A word to playboys: I would not recommend this album as Music to Make the Romantic Approach By. You're apt to get more interested in Beverly than the girl you're trying to impress."
Death and legacy
Kenney attempted suicide twice and then succeeded the third time with a combination of alcohol and Seconal on April 12, 1960.
She remains a cult figure in Japan, where all of her albums have been reissued on CD and have remained in print on a relatively steady basis. SSJ Records in Japan released three collections of previously unreleased material: Snuggled on Your Shoulder (2006), Lonely and Blue (2007), and What Is There to Say? (2009). This first in the series, Snuggled on Your Shoulder, was reissued by Cellar Door Records in 2010; it features the SSJ Records release in its entirety plus bonus tracks from a discovered radio show. One track from Snuggled on Your Shoulder, "Tea for Two", was released on the Vintage music compilation, This is Vintage Now (2011).
- Beverly Kenney Sings for Johnny Smith (Roost, 1956)
- Come Swing with Me (Roost, 1956)
- Beverly Kenney Sings with Jimmy Jones & the Basie-ites (Roost, 1957)
- Beverly Kenney Sings for Playboys (Decca, 1958)
- Born to be Blue (Decca, 1959)
- Like Yesterday (Decca, 1960)
- "The Magic Touch" b/w "Your Love is My Love" (Decca, 1958)
- "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" b/w "This Little Town Is Paris" (Royal Roost, 1956)
- Snuggled on Your Shoulder (SSJ, 2006; reissued by Cellar Door, 2010)
- Lonely and Blue (SSJ, 2007)
- What Is There to Say? (SSJ, 2009)
- McGee, David (4 September 2015). "The Girl Singers That Time Forgot". The Absolute Sound. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
- Flanagan, Lin (2015). Moonlight in Vermont: The Official Biography of Johnny Smith. Anaheim Hills: Centerstream Publishing. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-57424-322-2.
- Steve Allen, Beverly Kenney, Beverly Kenney Sings for Playboys, (Decca, 1958) back cover notes.
- "スタンダード・ヴォーカル・アルバムの復刻・発掘 （インストゥルメンタル）SSJ（Sinatra Society of Japan） presents CD". Sinatrajapan.com. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
- Beverly Kenney, Snuggled on Your Shoulder (Cellar Door Records, 2010), reissue liner notes.
- "Beverly Kenney on This is Vintage Now; Beverly Kenney Discography and Bio". Thisisvintagenow.com. Retrieved 2016-04-20.