The Kendalls were an American country music duo, consisting of Royce Kendall (September 25, 1935 - May 22, 1998) and his daughter Jeannie Kendall (born October 30, 1954). Between the 1960s and 1990s, they released sixteen albums on various labels, including five on Mercury Records. Their albums accounted for more than thirty singles on the Billboard country singles charts, including three Number One hits "Heaven's Just a Sin Away" (also a No. 69 pop hit), "Sweet Desire", and "Thank God for the Radio", as well as seven more Top Ten hits.
Formed in 1969, The Kendalls recorded an album for Stop Records, from which a single was released in 1970: a cover of John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane" (previously a hit for Peter, Paul & Mary). The Kendalls' version narrowly missed the top fifty on the U.S. country charts. The duo signed with Dot Records in 1972, and released an album and two singles, "Two Divided By Love", (a cover version of The Grass Roots' pop hit) and "Everything I Own", a cover of Bread's 1972 hit. Eventually, the Kendalls parted with their record label, before signing with the independent Ovation label in 1977. Their first single for the label, a cover of the Kitty Wells hit "Making Believe," made the lower regions of the charts (Emmylou Harris' version of "Making Believe" hit the U.S. country charts around the same time). It was the Kendalls' second single on Ovation, a "cheating" song called "Heaven's Just a Sin Away," that proved to be their breakthrough. The song topped the country charts and was also a minor crossover pop hit, and won the 1978 Grammy for Best Country Vocal by a Duo or Group. Subsequent hits included "Just Like Real People," "It Don't Feel Like Sinnin' to Me," "Sweet Desire," "You'd Make an Angel Want to Cheat," and a cover of Dolly Parton's "Put it Off Until Tomorrow." (Jeannie Kendall's powerful soprano has often been compared to Parton's.)1 In 1981, after Ovation Records closed their doors, the duo signed with Mercury Records, and continued to have hits with the "Teach Me To Cheat" and "If You're Waitin' On Me (You're Backin' Up)," which both made the country top ten. More hits followed with "Movin' Train" and "Precious Love," which made the Top 20.
Their last Number One country hit, 1984's "Thank God for the Radio," was also their last single to reach the top ten. Their last Top 20's would come in 1984 and 1985 with "My Baby's Gone" and "I'll Dance Every Dance With You." In 1986, they signed with MCA Records, where they scored three mid-level hits. In 1987, they signed with Step One Records, where they scored several minor hits. In 1989, they signed with Epic Records, where their last chart single, "Blue, Blue Day" made the Top 70. They continued to tour and perform and released several CDs until May 22, 1998, when Royce Kendall died from a stroke. In the early 1990s they had built a supper club in Gulf Shores, Alabama which featured nightly performances by them; the club closed down two years later. Afterward, they began performing in Branson, Missouri, where they had built homes next door to each other. In the years since her father's death, Jeannie pursued a solo career, recording two solo albums, including a self-titled acoustic/bluegrass CD on the Rounder label that featured two songs recorded with Royce and several guest artists. These guest artists included Alan Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss, and Johnny Long, who had been the Kendalls' backup singer on the road. The second was "All The Girls I Am," a much harder edged pop/country CD released in 2005 on Golden. Jeannie continues to tour and perform.
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