Evelyn Knight (b. December 31, 1917, Reedville, Virginia – d. September 28, 2007, San Jose, California) was a popular American singer of the 1940s and 1950s. In 1948, she recorded "A Little Bird Told Me" with The Stardusters, which was #1 for seven weeks and stayed on the charts for five months. Later that year she recorded "Powder Your Face with Sunshine"; which also hit #1 and remained on the charts well into the following year.
Knight had other hits including "Buttons and Bows" in 1948, which Bob Hope also sang in the film The Paleface. The song was also recorded by, and successful for, Dinah Shore. A list of some of her hits appears below. In 1950, she released "Candy and Cake", originally sung by Mindy Carson, and "All Dressed Up to Smile" with the Ray Charles singers. In 1951, she recorded a duet with country singer Red Foley called "My Heart Cries for You," as well as a pair of titles with Bing Crosby (see link below). She was among the pioneers of early television with several appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Colgate Comedy Hour and a 1951 TV appearance with Abbott & Costello which can be viewed here.
Born as Evelyn Davis, she began her career in high school when she would sing at Washington D.C.'s Station WRC as “Honey Davis” twice a week over NBC for $16 a broadcast. After high school she started singing in such high-end Washington D.C. supper clubs as The Claridge Hotel. At the age of 18, she married Andrew B. Knight, a war photographer for the Washington Post, and became professionally known as Evelyn Knight.
After many successful years in Washington she moved to New York City where she began headlining at such Manhattan nightclubs as The Blue Angel and the Plaza Hotel's Persian Room. She launched her recording career in 1945 by signing with Decca records, and moved to Los Angeles in the late 1940s where she headlined frequently at the celebrity-studded Ciro's and Coconut Grove.
For the next ten years she was a staple all over the country on the popular "supper club" circuit of the day. She became a pioneer of national network radio & TV, enjoyed many Top 40 hits, performed for President Truman at the White House, and played to audiences around the world. Her celebrity was literally cemented when she was included among the original 1500 stars on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame in 1960.
Divorced from Knight she married Johnny Lehmann, a songwriter with top ten hits of his own, in 1951. Her son, Andrew Knight Jr. (b. 1940 - d. 1989) became a well-regarded concert tour lighting technician in the seventies working with The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and The Who, among others. Her second child, Fran (b. 1954) grew up to enjoy a top-rated career onLos Angeles and San Francisco radio from 1970 to 2003. She is also survived by her three grandchildren, Saira McGan (an officer in the United States Air Force), Jesse Knight (real estate entrepreneur), and Jake Knight (musician, blogger/writer, and network engineer).
Evelyn and her family moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1969 where she lived until 2007. Following a decline in health in 2007, she moved to San Jose, California to live with her daughter. She died quietly on the morning of September 28, 2007, aged 89, from lung cancer.