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Anita Kerr


Anita Kerr Singers

Anita Kerr was bom Anita Jean Grilli on October 31, 1927 in Memphis, Tennessee. She started taking piano lessons at the age of four and eventually played pipe organ and made vocal arrangements for the choir of St. Thomas church. By age fourteen, she was singing on her mother's radio show as leader of the Grilli Sisters vocal group. Kerr soon became a solo performer, singing and playing piano and organ on local stations.

Anita formed the Anita Kerr Quartet in 1940 with Gil Wright (tenor), Dorothy Ann "Dottie" Dillard (alto) and Louis Nunley (baritone); Kerr herself sang soprano. Two years later they signed to Decca Records and established themselves as session singers. By the early 60s, the quartet was featured on, it is estimated or alleged, a quarter of all the country records being made in Nashville, including records by Eddy Arnold, Floyd Cramer, Jim Reeves, Hank Snow and Don Gibson, as well as pop records by Brook Benton, Perry Como, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee and Roy Orbison.

In 1961, Kerr became Chet Atkins' recording assistant at RCA sessions, working as vocal group leader, arranger, and occasional producer, her most successful production being "The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis.

The Anita Kerr Quartet recorded on its own as well as at times under other names including Little Dippers and Anita & th'So-And-Sos.

Anita relocated to Hollywood and created the Anita Kerr Singers. The new outfit signed with Warner Bros. Records and recorded easy-listening music, several of which were released under the Mexicali Singers moniker. After a short spell at Dot Records, Kerr returned to Nashville and concentrated on the Christian music.

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