Keely Smith (born Dorothy Jacqueline Keely, March 9, 1932) is an American jazz and popular music singer who enjoyed popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. She collaborated with, among others, Louis Prima and Frank Sinatra.
Smith showed a natural aptitude for singing at a young age. At 14, she started singing with a naval air station band led by Saxie Dowell. At 15, she got her first paying job with the Earl Bennett band.
Smith made her professional debut with Louis Prima in 1949 (the couple were married in 1953); Smith played the "straight guy" in the duo to Prima's wild antics and they recorded many duets. These include Johnny Mercer's and Harold Arlen's "That Ol' Black Magic", which was a Top 20 hit in the US in 1958. In 1959, Smith and Prima were awarded the first-ever Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus for "That Ol' Black Magic". Her "dead-pan" act was a hit with fans. The duo followed up with the minor successes "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen", a revival of the 1937 Andrews Sisters hit. Smith and Prima's act was a mainstay of the Las Vegas lounge scene for much of the 1950s.
Smith appeared with Prima in the 1959 film, Hey Boy! Hey Girl!, singing "Fever", and also appeared in and sang on the soundtrack of the previous year's Thunder Road. Her song in Thunder Road was "Whippoorwill". Her first big solo hit was "I Wish You Love". In 1961, Smith divorced Prima. She then signed with Reprise Records, where her musical director was Nelson Riddle. In 1965, she had Top 20 hits in the United Kingdom with an album of Beatles compositions, and a single, "You're Breaking My Heart". Her Reprise recordings have never been made available on CD.
In 1985, she made a comeback with I'm In Love Again (Fantasy Records). Her albums, Swing, Swing, Swing (2002), Keely Sings Sinatra (2001) for which she was Grammy nominated, and Keely Swings Count Basie Style with Strings (2002) garnered critical and fan acclaim.
Smith released Vegas '58 – Today a compilation album of her best known songs, all recorded live. Smith has re-recorded a number of songs from her Prima years, including a modified version of "Oh Marie," which has been renamed "Oh Louis" in tribute. By her own admission, she has never had a singing lesson and cannot read music.
She works a light touring schedule. She was booked at the Cafe Carlyle in New York City in 2007. On February 10, 2008, Smith performed "That Old Black Magic" with Kid Rock at the 50th Grammy Awards.
Smith married Louis Prima in 1953 and divorced him in 1961. They had three children. In 1965, she married Jimmy Bowen. The couple divorced in 1969.
Smith married musician Bobby Milano in 1975 in Palm Springs. Frank Sinatra gave the bride away.
In 2008, Vanessa Claire Smith and Jake Broder wrote and starred in the new musical, Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, which premiered at Los Angeles' Sacred Fools Theatre Company and went on to be nominated for four Ovation Awards, including the Franklin R. Levy Award for Musical in an Intimate Theatre, which it won. Smith herself attended a performance, as recounted at the show's official website.
Keely Smith - Politely and Swingin' Pretty
01. Sweet and Lovely
02. Cocktails for Two
03. The Song Is You
04. I'll Get By ( As Long as I Have You)
05. Lullaby of the Leaves
06. On the Sunny Side of the Street
07. I Can't Get Started
08. I'll Never Smile Again
10. East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)
11. All the Way
12. I Never Knew
13. It's Magic
14. It's Been a Long, Long Time
15. Stormy Weather
16. Indian Love Call
17. The Nearness of You
18. What Is this Thing Called Love
19. The Man I Love
20. You're Driving Me Crazy
22. There Will Never Be Another You
23. Someone to Watch Over Me
24. What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry
Keely Smith - Be My Love 1960
01. Be My Love
02. Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes
04. How Deep Is The Ocean
05. I'd Climb The Highest Mountain
06. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
07. It's All In The Game
08. My Reverie
10. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
11. You Made Me Love You
12. You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You