Keith Colley (his full name is Jarrell Keith Colley) was born in Spokane, WA, and raised in wheat farming country. While attending the University of Washington, Colley recorded a version of Dion's 1959 hit "A Teenager in Love" at a local radio station, and the station promptly put the song in regular rotation. Jerry Dennon, owner of Jerden Records, heard Colley's version of the song and signed him to the label. Colley's contract was converted to Era Records, and Colley cut three singles for Era before signing with Unical Records. Legend has it that a song of Colley's with a pretty melody but rather bland lyrics was translated into Spanish to disguise the song's lyrical thinness and released as "Enamorado" in 1963 with Colley handling the vocal chores, even though his knowledge of Spanish was sketchy at best. The song was a regional hit in several U.S. markets, and Unical, anxious to follow up on the song's success, had Colley track a couple more singles in Spanish, but history didn't repeat itself, and the songs quickly vanished from radio play lists. Colley next hooked up with Vee-Jay Records, releasing a fine two-sided single, "Billy Girl" b/w "Welcome Home Baby," a song Colley had written with P.F. Sloan, on the label's imprint. Colley also signed on with Four Star Music Publishing around this time as a house writer, eventually releasing a pair of singles on Challenge Records, the publisher's label. Increasingly, though, Colley began shifting his emphasis to songwriting, and in the early '60s he cut countless demos of his songs, backed by some of L.A.'s finest session musicians, which resulted in his songs being recorded by an impressive list of artists, including the Newbeats, the Knickerbockers, the Sandpipers, Jackie DeShannon, the New Christy Minstrels, Gene Vincent, and jazz great Chet Baker, who recorded a version of "Enamorado." Colley re-recorded the song himself in 1967 after signing with Columbia Records, with the new version produced by Gary Usher. Colley turned increasingly to the business side of the music scene as the 1960s waned, becoming an A&R man for Four Star, and eventually became a part of the administrative side of the publishing company. Bird Doggin', an album featuring several of Colley's L.A. song demos, was released by Rev-Ola in 2005. ~ Steve LeggettPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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