Katherine Laverne Starks was born July 21, 1922 on the reservation at Dougherty, Oklahoma, in a family of American Indian heritage. At just seven years of age, she was singing on Dallas radio station, WRR. In her teens, as her family moved to Memphis, WMPS radio began to feature her as Kay Starr.
As a junior high school student, Kay was a singer with the Joe Venuti orchestra and from time to time sang with the Bob Crosby and Glenn Miller bands. Upon completing high school in 1940, Kay moved to Los Angeles, where she became a soloist with the Charlie Barnet band.
After signing with Capitol Records in 1948, Kay Starr’s familiar deep and husky voice earned her a first ride on the Hit Parade with “You Were Only Foolin’, While I Was Falling in Love”. She landed on the top ten for the first time later that same year with “So Tired”. In 1950, Kay had four more top ten hits: “Hoop-Dee-Doo”, “Bonaparte’s Retreat”, "I'll Never Be Free" and “Oh, Babe”. It was in 1952, however, that she topped the charts with her biggest hit, the #1 multi-million selling “Wheel of Fortune” that stayed on the Hit Parade for 25 weeks. 1953 saw Kay Starr with four more giant hits: “Side By Side”, “Half a Photograph”, “Allez-Vous-En” and “Changing Partners”. The next year in 1954 Kay had a two sided smash hit with “The Man Upstairs” and “If You Love Me, Really Love Me”.
Moving to RCA Records in 1955, Kay Starr would have a another multi-million seller, “Rock and Roll Waltz” that would also stay on the Hit Parade for 25 weeks straight. In 1957 “My Heart Reminds Me” gave her yet another top ten hit.
Kay Starr was on the Hit Parade more than 40 times during her recording career.
In 2007 she was a nominee at the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.