Favorite

'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.
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Stephen Koch

  • Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires

    Also, Outlaw Music Festival, Little Tybee, Terminal Nation, Liz Brasher, Architecture and Design Network Talk from Jeff Shannon, Good Foot and more
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • Brit Floyd at Verizon Arena

    Pink Floyd tribute band Brit Floyd brought its Immersion tour to the north shore Monday. Blame it on post-Riverfest musical exhaustion or the earliness in the week, but the perennial arena favorite played to a smallish crowd of 1,218 with a few rowdy flashes.
    • Jun 6, 2017
  • Riverfest 2017: flute solos, fireworks and fidget spinners

    Whether you had a good time at Riverfest largely depends on when you were there. We've yet to get a report of the attendance numbers, but eyeballing the crowds this year in comparison to last year's tells us the intermittent rain deterred plenty of potential Riverfesters.
    • Jun 5, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

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 »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
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

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Spero heads up songwriting camp

    • A good step in the right direction! Another step would be to unite the women…

    • on July 17, 2017
  • Re: Walter was the worst

    • What a lame review. Walter Becker was never Steely Dan's guitar star...they left that to…

    • on July 17, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation