Date: 18 April 1981
Originally published in: Look-In (UK)
Written by: John Palmer
Success for Kim with her smash-hit single Kids In America is turning out to be something of a family affair, because brother Ricky writes her songs and she has received some sound advice about the pop business from her father, Marty, who himself enjoyed phenomenal popularity as one of Britain’s first rock and rollers…
Marty had eight smash hits between 1958 and 1962, and the biggest was Teenager In Love, which reached number two, but dad’s achievements were – if anything – a disadvantage for his daughter.
“I think that if you are a famous person’s child, it is more of a disadvantage than a help, because people are ready to criticise you about you family connections”, Kim told Look-In’s John Palmer.
Although she had always wanted to be a singer, her success came about by accident – and without any trading on her father’s reputation. “I suppose that because of my father, it was quite predictable that I would be interested in singing, and it was something that I always wanted to do. But the way I got the break was completely unexpected. Ricky had written a couple of songs, and I sang backing vocals on a demo disc we made. He gave the record to RAK, who asked us to go to their studio to re-record the songs.
“While we were working there, producer Mickie Most came in by chance, and when he saw and heard me, he thought that I could do something on my own. Ricky had another song, which we weren’t going to record that day – that was Kids In America and when Mickie heard it, he thought it would be a hit. That’s how it happened!”
While she is enjoying the first flush of success, Kim is also mindful that there is a lot more to do before she could be called an established star, and when she returns from TV and promotional work in Europe, she will begin work on recording an album.
“Ricky is writing some songs – he’s unbelievable, he travels around with a mini keyboard and eight-track tape recorder, and he’s writing new material all the time. Ricky actually released a record himself when he was about ten, but now he concentrates on writing, which dad is also doing. “We’ve got a couple of possibilities for the next single, but as yet we haven’t sorted out anything about touring. I’ve never done that before – all I’ve done on stage are things like school plays and I quite enjoyed performing – but before we go out on the road for a tour, we have to get everything right. Life on the road can be tough, I know, because I’ve seen dad go on tours, but it doesn’t put me off and I’m prepared for a bit of the hard life.”
Father knows best!
So much for Kim’s first taste of success – what does father Marty make of it all? This is what he told us:
“I didn’t really want Kim to go into show business, because I love her very much, and I don’t want her to get hurt. I was worried that she might not be successful, and she would spend her life dragging around small clubs and becoming more and more disillusioned. I have seen a lot of young girl singers struggling on the road, and my advice to any aspiring young girl would still be ‘don’t do it’. I’m obviously very pleased for Kim that her first release did so well, but ironically enough, I’d hoped that it really wouldn’t make it to the top! That sounds strange, but I would hate Kim to have too much too soon, and then start on a slide down before she has had a chance to build up and enjoy success.
“I didn’t interfere with Kim’s plans at all, because I thought that she should do what she wanted, and she has achieved her objective. Of course, we as a family are right behind her, and we are giving the benefit of our experience to her now”
And the family who are rooting for her increased by one on the day of our interview with Marty, who became the proud father of another son!
What had he thought of Kim’s recording debut?
“When I heard Kids in America, there was never any doubt in my mind that it would be a hit. Like a lot of today’s songs, it has kept the best elements of the kind of songs I recorded. There is a positive force and an excitement about them. A lot of your readers’ mums and dads will remember my hits, and today’s hits are just variations on those same themes… with of course all the advantages of modern techniques.”