Evelyn Knight ©2002JCMarion


Evelyn Knight was born in Washington, D.C., and got her start as a singer on local radio, and soon found herself in the recording studio. It was during the mid forties that she had two big hits on the Decca label. "Dance With A Dolly" on #18614 recorded with Camarata's Orchestra was a hit parade seller for more than four months and got as high as number six on the listing. In early 1946 "Chickery Chick" originally recorded by the Gene Krupa Orchestra was put on wax with Knight's vocal backed up by The Three Jesters and the Bob Haggart band on #18725 and was a top ten hit. Knight then was absent from the hit lists for three years.

In late November of 1948 Knight covered a tune originally recorded by Paula Watson for Supreme Records. The song "A Little Bird Told Me" recorded with The Stardusters on Decca #24514 took off like a shot over the year end holidays. It rose quickly to the top of the pop charts and remained in the number one position in the country for seven weeks. The song remained on the charts for five months through the spring of 1949. The strength of the record was apparent in the fact that the flip side "Brush Those Tears From Your Eyes" which on its own got into the top ten and remained on the charts for four months. This showing pushed the record to over two million in sales and made it into one of the top pop music hits of the post was forties. "A Little Bird" was the subject of a contentious lawsuit brought by Supreme Records against Decca, claiming that they "stole" the arrangement from the Paula Watson original. The court found however, that the Decca release did not violate any copyright law by its version of the song. An interesting fact about the song was that it was written by Harvey Brooks, who was the first Black American to write a complete film score when he did so for Mae West's film "I'm No Angel" in 1933.

Evelyn Knight's next charted record was a song from the hit Bob Hope film "The Paleface" in 1948 called "Buttons And Bows" which was a number one hit for Dinah Shore. Knight's version on Decca #24489 with Mannie Klein's orchestra and The Stardusters did well getting into the top fifteen and remaining on the charts for two months. If most observers of the music scene thought that Knight would just fade away after her big splash on the charts, they were dead wrong. In early 1949 a song called "Powder Your Face With Sunshine" on Decca #24530, recorded once again with The Stardusters sold in huge numbers going all the way to number one in the country. "Sunshine" was a five month stay on the best seller charts and gave Knight two number ones in six months. In mid 1949 a two sided hit was released on #24636 - "It's Too Late Now" and "You're So Understanding" both with the Four Hits & A Miss and Sonny Burke's Orchestra. Both sides got into the top 25 and were moderate sellers.

In 1950 there were two chart hits for Evelyn Knight. "Candy And Cake", a cover of the hit by Mindy Carson on Decca #24943" which was a top 20 seller, and "All Dressed Up To Smile" with the Ray Charles Singers on Decca #27103 was a top 25 seller. "My Heart Cries For You" as a duet with country music star and Grand Ole Opry host Red Foley on #27378 was a substantial seller in 1951 which was Evelyn's last chart appearance.
Evelyn Knight was certainly more than a footnote to pop music history, with an impressive list of top selling records during the late 40s. Her two number ones in six months remains an impressive feat for someone who is not a well remembered name. But - we remember her here : Evelyn Knight.

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