One of the myriad bands thrust onto the British glam scene as it approached its end in the mid-'70s, Kenny was generally regarded, alongside the Bay City Rollers and Slik, as simply another in a long line of acts created by master songwriters Bill Martin and Phil Coulter. In fact, although the five-piece group's best-known material was indeed the work of that pair, Kenny's Rick Driscoll and Yan Stile were also very competent songwriters in their own right, as the group's final few releases proved.
Indeed, the group had already existed for some three years before Martin and Coulter first encountered them. Under the name Chufff, the quartet were regulars on the free festival progressive rock circuit, playing alongside such stalwarts as Hawkwind and the Edgar Broughton Band. They were discovered by Martin and Coulter in late 1974 -- according to legend, the band was rehearsing in a banana warehouse in the north London suburb of Enfield at the time and their initial response to the songwriters' overtures were disdainful.
Martin and Coulter would not take no for an answer. They had recently recorded a new version of a song previously cut with the Bay City Rollers, a dance number called "The Bump," and were anxious to find a ready-made band to promote it on television. Indeed, the record had already been released and seemed destined for a chart entry. Assured of stardom, Chufff agreed to become Kenny.
In the event, stardom was to prove extremely fleeting. While the group certainly garnered some publicity from the Kellogg's cereal company's objections to the band's "K" logo and "The Bump" made number three in early 1975, the group enjoyed just three further British hits, all penned by Martin-Coulter: the number four smash "Fancy Pants," "Baby I Love You OK" (number 12), and "Julie Ann" (number ten). Neither were Rick Driscoll and Yan Stile's own songwriting efforts to reap any benefits. Kenny recorded just one of the duo's own songs, "Happiness Melissa," as the B-side to the late-1975 flop, "Nice to Have You Home."
The under-performance of Kenny's debut album furthered the band's desire to extricate themselves from their predicament and, in late 1976, Kenny went to court to free themselves from Martin-Coulter. They then signed to Polydor and recorded a new, all original, album, Ricochet, and the single "Hot Lips." Neither drew any attention whatsoever and when a serious road accident put Stile out of action, Kenny folded. They have never reformed. ~ Dave Thompson, Rovi
Apr 29 SaturdayOrlando, FL, US Will's Pub