'Love letters' 

KETTY LESTER: Hope singer.
  • KETTY LESTER: Hope singer.
Although Revoyda Frierson acted on such TV shows as “Little House on the Prairie” and “Sanford and Son,” the Southwest Arkansas native is perhaps best remembered for her hit “Love Letters.” Frierson is also better know by her stage name: Ketty Lester. She was born Aug. 16, 1934, in Hope, one of 15 children. As a teen-ager, Lester moved to San Francisco to study nursing. She continued singing and acting in plays — and adopted her stage name. The Hempstead County native would record for several labels, including RCA and Capitol Records’ Tower division. Lester’s sultry vocals were usually set to swinging pop arrangements with strings and horns that would be at home on any Rat Pack hi-fi. But her acting career also flourished — and eventually eclipsed her singing career. Lester continued performing on the stage, and became a regular on TV’s “Little House on the Prairie” and “Days of Our Lives.” She also appeared on other iconic TV shows such as “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “Love American Style,” “Sanford and Son,” “That Girl,” “Hill Street Blues” and “Laugh-In.” Lester’s aching torch ballad “Look for Me (I’ll Be Around)” was covered in 2002 by Neko Case. Lester would chart a few other times, but her first hit, and landmark song, is “Love Letters.” Her version hit the top 5 in 1962 on the independent label Era Records. “Love Letters” was written for a movie of the same name starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten. In 1945, the song was a hit for Dick Haymes. “Love Letters” has been recorded by artists as diverse — and numerous — as Elvis Presley, Sonny Rollins, Joe Walsh, Rosemary Clooney, Perry Como, Nat King Cole, Steve Lawrence, Liberace, Don McLean, Ike Turner and Dinah Washington and many others. Even former Sex Pistol Steve Jones released a surprisingly faithful version in 1987. Ironically, Lester’s version of “Love Letters” was issued as the B-side to a single. The “plug” song on side A was “I’m a Fool to Want You.” But in a move that would be frowned upon in today’s corporate radio, enterprising DJs flipped the record over to air “Love Letters,” and it clicked with listeners. The surprise hit song became Lester’s commercial and artistic peak — at least of her musical career.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Stephen Koch

  • A new era for Riverfest

    In its 38th year, Little Rock's annual summer music festival reinvents itself.
    • Jun 2, 2016
  • Live Review: Shuggie Otis at Stickyz

    Shuggie Otis and his three-piece band drew a near-full house at Stickyz Wednesday night — a mixed crowd of those who could recall when Otis was being heralded as America’s next top guitarist and those who likely heard him first through his being sampled by the likes of Beyonce and J Dilla.
    • Jul 16, 2015
  • Big Ideas for Arkansas 2014

    Readers and experts suggest ways to change Arkansas for the better.
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Hutchinson administration resists accountability in child rape case

    After a nightmarish revelation about serial rapes by a state-approved foster parent, the Hutchinson administration, from the governor on down, resist talking about how it happened.
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
  • Ted Suhl loses another bid for new trial; faces stiff sentencing recommendation

    Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.
  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.

Latest in Arkansongs

  • Floyd Cramer's country keys

    Floyd Cramer, who grew up in Huttig, became one of the most important piano players in the development of country music.
    • May 3, 2007
  • Dorough finds his voice

    From his beginnings in Cherry Hill, Bob Dorough knew music was his thing.
    • Mar 15, 2007
  • ‘Sunday Afternoon’

    Soundtrack album forges on without film.
    • Jan 25, 2007
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Witchhunt

    The Rep turns up the heat with Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible.'

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Good Weather

    • Congratulations Tara, beautifully written!

    • on October 27, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation