Jeri Southern

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Jeri Southern
Jeri Southern.jpg
Background information
Birth name Genevieve Lillian Hering
Born (1926-08-05)August 5, 1926
Royal, Nebraska
United States
Died August 4, 1991(1991-08-04) (aged 64)
Los Angeles, California
United States
Genres Jazz, pop
Occupation(s) Pianist, vocalist
Instruments Piano

Jeri Southern (August 5, 1926 – August 4, 1991) was an American jazz pianist and singer.[1]


Born Genevieve Hering in Royal, Nebraska, Southern began playing piano at age three, and at age six started formal study in classical piano.[1] She studied classical piano and voice at Sacred Heart in Omaha, Nebraska, where she became interested in jazz.

After beginning her career at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, she joined a United States Navy recruiting tour during World War II. In the late 1940s, she worked in Chicago clubs where she once played piano for Anita O'Day. During this period, Southern became known for her singing, particularly for her renditions of torch songs.[1]

She signed with Decca Records in 1951 and became known both for pop and jazz. The 1950s saw her at the height of her career. In 1955 her recording of "An Occasional Man", reached #89 in the Billboard pop chart.[1] In that decade she sang in a few films and in 1957 she had a Top 30 hit with "Fire Down Below." The track peaked at #22 in the UK Singles Chart in June 1957.[2] After her switch to Capitol Records, she had success doing interpretations of Cole Porter with Billy May arranging some of the more humorous examples.[1]

In the 1960s she gave up the music industry to teach, and later moved to Hollywood, California to work on film composing with Hugo Friedhofer. She wrote Interpreting Popular Music At The Keyboard during her final years.

Southern died in Los Angeles of pneumonia in 1991, at the age of 64, just a day before her 65th birthday.[3]

Selected discography[edit]

  • Warm Intimate Songs In The Southern Style (1954, Decca) – 10" LP
  • The Southern Style (1955, Decca)
  • You Better Go Now (1956, Decca)
  • When Your Heart's On Fire (1957, Decca)
  • Jeri Gently Jumps (1957, Decca)
  • Prelude to a Kiss (1957, Decca)
  • Southern Hospitality (1958, Decca)
  • Jeri Southern Meets Johnny Smith (1958, Roulette)
  • Southern Breeze (1958, Roulette)
  • Coffee, Cigarettes and Memories (1958, Roulette)
  • Jeri Southern Meets Cole Porter (1959, Capitol)
  • Jeri Southern At the Crescendo (1960, Capitol)
  • When I Fall In Love (1995, Decca (UMO))
  • You Better Go Now/When Your Heart's on Fire (1996, Jasmine)
  • Meets Cole Porter/at the Crescendo (1997, EMI)
  • The Felix Southern Style /Prelude to a Kiss (1998, MCA)
  • The Dream's on Jeri (1998, Jasmine)
  • Southern Breeze/Coffee Cigarettes and Memories (1998, EMI)
  • The Very Thought of You: the Decca Years 1951–1957 (1999, Decca Jazz)
  • You Better Go Now (1997, Universal Japan)
  • When Your Hearts on Fire (2001, Universal)
  • The Ultimate Jeri Southern (2002, EMI Catalogue) – Original Recording Remastered
  • Southern Hospitality/Jeri Gently Jumps (2008, Commercial Marketing)
  • Romance In The Dark (2009, Bygone Days)


  • Southern, Jeri (1978). Sheldon, Stan, ed. Interpreting Popular Music at the Keyboard. Studio Publications. OCLC 7285736. 


  1. ^ a b c d e Bush, John. "Biography of Jeri Southern". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 517. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ "Jeri Southern, Pianist and Pop Singer, 64". The New York Times. 6 August 1991. 

External links[edit]