In 1975 I received a record at WNEW-FM that I immediately fell in love with. It was “Looking For an Echo” by Kenny Vance, a track off his first solo album Vance 32 that paid tribute to the doo-wop era, but with a contemporary sound. I didn’t know much about Kenny’s background other than he had been part of a very successful 60’s group, Jay & The Americans.
The album came and went, but the song always stuck with me. A few years later I learned that Kenny had been music producer and supervisor for a film I had just seen about the life of the legendary disc jockey Alan Freed, American Hot Wax.
Kenny’s group “The Planatones” would emerge from a fictional group that was portrayed in the film, but it would take fourteen years for that to happen. During that time he was involved with an assortment of musical projects including “Saturday Night Live” and the films Eddie and the Cruisers and Animal House.
Today Kenny and the Planatones maintain a busy touring schedule with a wonderful show that evokes the musical spirit of the 50’s and 60’s and brings us up to date on the endless search for that perfect echo. Their new album is called Acapella I finally got a chance to get the complete story behind the song and clarify who exactly was Jay in Jay & The Americans when we spoke in December 2012.
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