||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2007)|
|Birth name||Jaqueline Norah Flood|
|Also known as||Jacky
May 29, 1936 |
Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland
|Labels||Decca, Oriole, Parlophone, Philips, Columbia (EMI),Pye|
|Associated acts||The Raindrops, The Beatles, Elton John, The Jimi Hendrix Experience|
Lee was a musical child prodigy. She won a scholarship and trained as a soprano for four years. Upon finishing her studies she became a vocalist with the top showbands playing prestigious Irish venues.
Lee experienced similar success when she moved to London and joined the popular dance band; The Squadronaires. In 1955 her first solo record was released, followed by a further two the next year. From 1959 to 1964, Lee was a member of The Raindrops, a successful quartet who made countless appearances on British TV and variety shows, had a BBC Radio show and released a string of records, the majority of which had Lee as lead vocalist. The Raindrops also included Les Vandyke and Vince Hill in its line-up. In 1962, she entered the UK heats of the Eurovision Song Contest as a solo act with "There's No-one in the Whole Wide World" and performed it at the British national finals for BBC TV. This number was later covered and performed by The Beatles in concerts during this period.
Lee decided to become a solo artist in 1965 and it is this period, 1965–1967, which defined her cult status through the 'beat' records she released. One of these recordings, "Just Like a Man", reached the NME chart. The B-side; "I Gotta Be With You", became a Northern soul classic. Lee recorded this single under the name of Emma Rede for EMI.
Lee also had an alternative career as a respected session singer, through her groups The Jackie Lee Singers and Tears of Joy. She provided the backing vocals for such global number ones as "Green Green Grass of Home" by Tom Jones and "Release Me" by Englebert Humperdink. She demonstrated her unique vocal range, ability and versatility on such diverse recordings as "Hey Joe" by Jimi Hendrix; and much of the James Last catalogue at the time. At one point Elton John was employed by Lee, as a member of her session singers. In addition she also sang various songs for film soundtracks. Among them "Born To Lose" from the 1967 film Robbery, "Love Is Now" from the 1969 Norman J. Warren film Loving Feeling, and the title song to the 1970 horror film Goodbye Gemini.
In 1968, as 'Jacky', she had a UK Top Ten hit single with "White Horses", the theme from a Children's TV programme. In 2003, her definitive version was voted the best TV theme tune of all time by 'The Penguin Television Companion'. Her jazz-styled album of the same name was also released in 1968, which included contributions from Dudley Moore as pianist. By 1970, 'Jacky' reverted to 'Jackie Lee' and had another hit record; "Rupert" from the TV show based on the famous cartoon character, Rupert Bear (inaccurately referred to as "Rupert the Bear" in the song's lyrics). This recording also had a place in the "Best TV themes of all time" list from 'The Penguin Television Companion' at Number 7, thus consolidating Lee's reputation. A tie-in album, "Jackie's Junior Choice", was released on Pye Records (PKL 5503) in 1971, followed by the similar, "Rupert and Other Junior Favourites" on Pye's budget Golden Guinea label (GSGL 10492) in 1973, which also included Jackie's recording of another children's series, "Inigo Pipkin".
It was shortly after this that she prematurely retired owing to vocal complications and throat trouble, yet she remained a respected vocalist and, it has been said, that her work has "firmly embedded itself in the subconscious of a generation."
2007 saw the release of a CD entitled End Of A Rainbow - A Pye Anthology comprising all of Lee's later recordings, made for Pye Records between 1969 and 1973. A second CD, The Town I Live In, issued in 2009, collected all of her 1966/1967 recordings for EMI. She is now retired and resides in Canada.
- Jackielee.org - The World of Jackie Lee (official site)
- Jackie Lee discography at Discogs
- Jackie Lee at the Internet Movie Database