Jazz & Pop Singer Keely Smith, Frequent Louis Prima Collaborator, Dies at 89

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Keely Smith

<a href="/music/Keely-Smith">Keely Smith</a>, a pop and jazz singer known for her solo recordings of jazz standards as well as her musical partnership with <a href="/music/louis-prima">Louis Prima</a>, has died of apparent heart failure in Palm Springs, Calif. She was 89.

According to a news release from her publicist Bob Merlis, Smith was under a physician’s care when she died Saturday (Dec. 16).

Smith was born Dorothy Jacqueline Keely in Norfolk, Virginia on March 9, 1928, and was still a teenager when she began singing with Louis Prima's band.

She and Prima married in 1953, and together, they won a Grammy in 1959 for their hit "That Old Black Magic," which peaked at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Their songs "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön" and "I've Got You Under My Skin" also made the Hot 100 in 1959.

In 2001 -- 42 years later -- Smith was nominated for a Grammy for her album Keely Sings Sinatra.

During her seven-decade career, Smith was lauded by critics for her bold voice and ability to make the music swing, and she received several awards including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


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