In the early sixties, you could find Kathy Linden singing for Ed Sullivan and Lawrence Welk. The South Jersey native made a name for herself in pop, but there came a time when she decided to step away and put her public music career to rest for a while.
Nearly 50 years after her time in the spotlight, Linden has decided to make her return to music. She’s composing music again and is excited for the world to hear what she’s been working on.
Linden grew up in Burlington, and music was part of her life from the jump. As early as sixth grade, she was taking piano lessons. She found herself singing solos in her school’s music performances at age 11, and in high school, she played violin in a traveling string quartet called the “Singing Strings.”
When she graduated from high school, she got a job at RCA in Moorestown as a typist clerk. The man that interviewed her would become her boss and later her husband. After nine months, he asked for her hand in marriage, and the pair lived in an apartment on Linden Street in Haddonfield. The street would serve as the inspiration behind her stage name (she prefers not to reveal her legal name).
Linden and her husband eventually moved closer to work relocating to Moorestown. In 1957, she was singing with a band in a New Jersey restaurant when a songwriter heard her and introduced her to Joe Leahy of National Records. Leahy signed Linden within one meeting, and her first single was “It’s Just My Luck To be Fifteen.” The records sold around 35,000 copies.
Her star truly started to rise following the 1958 release of her cover of the song “Billy.” The song made its way up the Billboard charts, eventually peaking at the number seven spot on the national chart.
She found herself touring the late show circuit performing for Sullivan, Welk, Dick Clark and Steve Allen. Her second major hit came in 1959 with the song “Goodbye Jimmy, Goodbye.” The song reached number 11 on the Billboard national charts.
In 1960, she signed with Monument Records, and she moved to California in 1961 to continuing pursuing her music career. She went on to sign with Capital Records in Hollywood and would go on releasing music for a few more years.
Linden said the music industry proved stressful. She was constantly on a plane travelling throughout the United States and Canada. At a certain point, she felt burnt out. Then, the point person handling her music at Capital quit, and her music wasn’t getting quite the same amount of action, so she made a decision.
“I left,” Linden said. “I just said, ‘I’m going to go up on a ranch with horses and my children and my family. I’m going to get out of this business.’”
So, that’s what she did. Linden lived a quiet life with her family. She said her life changed in 1980 when she became a Christian. She went into a local, little church and heard the word in a way that resonated. From that moment on, she was a believer.
“My whole life changed,” Linden said. “I just wanted to serve God.”
She began writing Christian music – an experience that she says has reinvigorated her love for music. During her pop days, her songs were written by other people, and she felt no real connection to the words she was singing.
“My own music, God given to me, is really the connection that’s made my life so happy and changed,” Linden said.
About four years ago, Linden was “in hiding” writing her Christian music when Disc Jockey Ronnie Allen wanted to know if she might be interested in speaking with him. She said the conversation sparked something in her that made her want to release music again.
These days, Linden lives in Texas and is working with DistroKid, an independent digital music distribution service, to get her music back into the world. With a little help, she’s built a new website for herself, and she’s working on getting her music out there.
For the last two years, she’s been composing up a storm. In addition to her Christian music, she’s currently working on instrumentals and line dance music. She said she’s having great fun creating music that’s her very own this go-around.
To learn more about Kathy Linden, visit kathylinden.com.