Bill Kenny & The Ink Spots

[“Ink Spots Billboard 3” by Unknown – Ad on page 138 of Billboard 1944 Music Yearbook; also published in ad on page 3 of the Billboard 1943 Music Yearbook. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons; Musical Notes Illustration original image © nmarques74/Dollar Photo Club]

In 1943, when I was 16 years old, I was living in St. Thomas where my father was stationed in the RCAF.

That Spring I had an opportunity to go to London, Ontario, to a concert by the “Ink Spots”, a new and barely known singing group. I had two tickets.

I would normally have taken my Dad, but he was on duty, so I took a family friend, Lillian Lindsay.

The Ink Spots were singing in a huge auditorium and when it came time for the show to begin much less than a quarter of the seats were filled.

What a show – Bill Kenny’s voice captivated me. So rich and so pure —- and such a range!

From the very first song I was a lifetime Ink Spots fan and devotee. I collected all of their recordings and played them regularly.

In 1873 – 30 years later – I was travelling from Ottawa to Vancouver via a stop at the University in Winnipeg.

My flight out was the following morning so I booked in at the Airport Hotel. At dinner time I decided to go to the Lounge for a post-dinner drink and —– lo and behold! There sat the Ink Spots! Not another soul in the entire Lounge.

I introduced myself and told Kenny how much – and for how long – I admired him and his marvellous voice.

I was invited to join them. We sat visiting until very late at night.

Bill Kenny was the original – all of the remainder came and went over the years, but Bill remained and kept the group together with his marvellous voice.

That evening was a highlight of my life! Far better than meetings with Dictators, Royalty, Presidents, etc!

How sad that Bill Kenny ended up in a Vancouver east side flat, broke and destitute, when he was found dead.

How little we seem to value our treasures!