Chris Kenner (December 25, 1929 – January 25, 1976) was a New Orleans rhythm & blues singer and songwriter, best known for two hit singles, "I Like It Like That" and "Land Of 1000 Dances", in the early 1960s, that became staples in the repertoires of many other musicians.Read More
Born in the farming community of Kenner, Louisiana, upriver from New Orleans, Kenner sang gospel music with his church choir, and moved to New Orleans in his teens. In 1955 he made his first recordings, for a small label, Baton Records, without success; and in 1957 recorded his "Sick and Tired" for the Imperial Records label; Fats Domino covered it the next year and the song became a hit. "Rocket to the Moon" and "Life Is Just a Struggle," both cut for the Ron Records label, were other notable songs from this period.
Moving to another New Orleans label, Instant, he began to work with pianist and arranger Allen Toussaint. In 1961, this collaboration produced "I Like It Like That", his first and biggest hit, peaking at #2 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart (covered in 1965 by The Dave Clark Five) and "Something You Got" (covered by Alvin Robinson, the Ramsey Lewis Trio, Chuck Jackson, Earl Grant, Maxine Brown, Bobby Womack, Fairport Convention and Bruce Springsteen). "I Like It Like That" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. In 1962 he produced his most enduring song, "Land of a Thousand Dances," which was recorded by Cannibal & the Headhunters, Thee Midniters, Wilson Pickett, The Action and Patti Smith.
Kenner continued to record for Instant and for various other small local labels, including many of his lesser-known songs from the 1960s, such as "My Wife," "Packing Up" and "They Took My Money". He released an album on Atlantic Records in 1966; the Collectors' Choice label reissued the LP, Land of a Thousand Dances, on CD in 2007.
In 1968 Kenner was convicted of statutory rape of a minor, and spent three years in Louisiana's Angola prison.
Kenner died from a heart attack in 1976, at the age of 46.
Southern Louisiana based R&B artist who started making records in 1955 for Baton Records, in 1957 he recorded "Sick and Tired" with Dave Bartholomew for the Imperial Records label; which became a hit only after Fats Domino covered it. His biggest 60's records were 1961's "I Like It Like That" recorded for Joe Banashak's Instant label. The song "I Like It Like That" co-written with pianist Allen Toussaint reached number 2 in the US pop charts and Kenner later received a Grammy nomination for the song. "I Like It Like That" was also a 1965 hit for The Dave Clark Five , 70's duo Loggins & Messina and there was a popular spanish Conjunto version by Fania artist Pete Rodriguez. Kenner wrote & recorded "Something You Got" which was a big 1965 hit for Chuck Jackson and Maxine Brown, while Kenner's 1962's "Land of 1000 Dances" hit #77 on the US charts, it was a bigger hit for Wilson Pickett and Cannibal & the Headhunters. "Land of a 1000 Dances", a perennial party fave was also later redone by The J. Geils Band,Roy Orbison, The Trashmen,The Ventures,Sam & Dave,The Residents, Johnny Rivers, Tina Turner, Tom Jones, Rufus Thomas, the Walker Brothers amongst many others. Firmly rooted in the regional New Orleans R&B scene, Kenner collaborated with contemporaries like Eddie Bocage aka Eddie Bo on songs like ‘All Night Rambler’. Later on he also laid down funkier sides like 1967’s ‘Fumigate Funky Broadway’. Kenner, a heavy drinker, was found guilty of statutory rape of a minor in 1968, and spent three years in Louisiana's Angola prison, never regaining chart success before his death in 1976.
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