Top positive review
9 May 2014
This is a very fine book concerning the career of Kathy Kirby; without doubt the personal knowledge, research and data are very impressive.
When Kathy was hitting the big time I was about 10 and very impressionable - and who wouldn't be with this blonde bombshell on the screen of my parents' black & white TV set? So, she was very much part of my growing up and I've never forgotten her, as she really did seem like the `girl next door' to me.
Of course, tales of tragedy - drink, drugs, isolation, bankruptcy, marriage / relationship problems, illness, scandals and premature deaths are so common place in this profession.
The bottom line is that she had a great career while it lasted and made a lot of money and lived a life style that few are lucky enough to sample - no matter how brief that was, and let's be honest, it wasn't that brief was it? Compared to some of her contemporaries, however, she had a reasonable career. Longevity is a rarity in this business. Though the likes of Cilla Black, Petula Clark, Shirley Bassey and Sandy Shaw, Lulu etc. achieved more success and carried on longer, many, many more were `one hit wonders' and disappeared almost immediately, without anywhere near KK's success or her lifestyle?
It is debatable as to why Kathy did not stay at the top longer with a voice as good as hers? Certainly Bassey was a better singer & performer, Clark was more internationally savvy, Sandi Shaw had better material to work with on her singles and of course Cilla was brilliant as a compare & hostess which took her in other directions.
I very much enjoyed the pictures of Kathy as she was a `right little belter' for sure.
The second half of the book is from Mark Willerton's personal diary - commencing from the time he first met Kathy.
I did find parts of this a bit overly long and rather trivial in places, though undeniably intimate concerning how she lived in those later years. It reads like a besotted fan falling head over heels to do whatever he can for his idol, which of course is what he was. However, his loyalty, generosity, hard work and commitment towards her are admirable and were clearly vital to her well-being, as were the efforts her other devoted helpers. I found it despicable that they were denied access to her funeral, as they'd done a million times more than any of her immediate family to make her later years bearable and happy? It's the easiest thing in the world to give money when you have plenty?