Kenny Vance and the Planotones Up Close and Personal Concerts

Kenny Vance
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Kenny Vance- Lost and Found Archives - Vol 1

"We're going to see Kenny Vance and the Planotones."

My friend had invited me out for a surprise 'musical extravaganza', as he called it, and I was eagerly anticipating to find out exactly who we were going to see. I knocked on the door smiling and he invited me in and I said, "o.k. tell me, who are we going to see?" He looked at me and smiled and said, "We're going to see Kenny Vance and the Planotones." Hmmm, I had never heard of them. "Kenny who? What do they sing?" I was in for a surprise. "Doo-wop", Geoff said, "you'll love them!" Not being a huge doo-wop fan, or at least what I thought was doo-wop, I wasn't so sure I would love them, but, let's read on. We were going to an Up Close and Personal Concert with Kenny Vance and the Planotones.
We drove to the historic Capitol Theater in downtown Clearwater, Fl and I noticed many people walking to the venue. There were a number of older couples, younger couples, singles, even teenagers. I was intrigued. All of these people have heard of this group? Why had I never heard of them? I'm a huge music lover, appreciating many different kinds of music. We took our seats in the very old, cozy, not so beautiful theatre. The stage was quite close, nothing extravagant at all. The announcer of the radio station that exclusively plays oldies on Sunday nights in Tampa Bay gave a brief introduction and introduced Kenny Vance.

I didn't know what to expect. He came out and sat on a stool with his guitar and sat and talked to us for a while before the rest of the band members joined him. He almost reminded me of an older (earlier days) Bob Dylan. He was dressed in black pants, suit coat, sunglasses and a black fedora. Already I knew I was going to love this band. Kenny Vance clearly loves what he does. He has a charming sense of humor and there's a certain charisma about him that draws you closer. He talked to us about the early days in Brooklyn and forming the band, Jay and the Americans, and took us down memory lane with some of their music.

Kenny Vance and the Planotones

Kenny Vance; Girl Of My Dreams

Jay And The Americans; Come A Little Bit Closer

Looking For An Echo

They opened with some favorites that immediately set the mood. I was mesmerized by this man's voice and the NY style sophistication of the two vocalists and musicians. I felt like a little girl in a candy store. I wanted all of it, I wanted to hear everything. Kenny Vance and the Planotones had a new fan! Not only was his voice amazing, hitting these incredible falsetto notes and the sweetest tenor, but their engaging ability to make us feel connected as an audience. Everyone was completely enthralled by this magical music filling this small, old theater. Iphones were being thrust upward to snap a shot of nostalgia to send to a friend or keep as a memory.

We heard 'I Only Have Eyes for You', 'Let it Please Be You', 'This I Swear' (beautiful love ballads), 'Angel Baby', 'Diamonds and Pearls' (ahhh, so romantic), 'Everybody's Somebody's Fool' ;Why Do You Have To Go', 'Some Kind of Wonderful' (yes, that one!) among many others. I loved all of them, but there were some favorites, like 'I Need You', 'Once Upon a Time' and 'Girl of my Dreams'. I'm feeling like everyone should be in love after hearing this song. Every woman there wanted to be that girl in his dreams. Romance fills the air with these songs and his velvet smooth 'as a sip of brandy' voice. You want to wrap your arms around the feeling.

In between songs, Kenny would often talk about where the songs came from, what inspired him, the music scene in NY at the time. I had never been to a concert like this. People were even slow dancing in the aisles to some of his classics. It was like this magical mood permeated our souls. I don't think I stopped smiling the whole night, it was so hypnotic. They closed the show with 'Why Do You Have To Go' and their fabulous 'Looking For An Echo.' Not only are they fantastic vocalists and musicians, but this group puts on a top notch entertaining performance not to be missed if you love the golden era of doo- wop and romantic oldies!

They performed the very first song Vance auditioned with at the age of 18 when he formed The Five Keys, 'Wisdom of the Fool.' This song was the beginning of his long, successful career. The three members sang a capella in front of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller in a record company office in the nostalgic Brill Building on Broadway. Although not immediately signed, three months later they were signed and recorded, 'Tonight,' from West Side Story. Kenny Vance was on his way to a musical dream coming true.

He formed Jay and the Americans (Come A Little Bit Closer) and played the debut US performances for both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the mid-sixties. He has composed numerous film scores, produced the first record for Walter Becker and Donald Fagan who went on to form Steely Dan. He has acted and directed music for numerous shows and then came back and formed Kenny Vance and the Planotones in 1992 for the Eddie and the Cruisers movie. They continue to perform around the country and it really is a delightful, memorable performance.


Kenny Vance and the Planotones - Looking For An Echo

Celebrating 50 Years of Doo-Wop

2009 brought his 50th anniversary of being an integral, inspiring reason why doo-wop music is loved by so many and now is being re-introduced to another generation. Kenny Vance has helped to keep this music art form alive throughout the 21rst century, and most likely well into the next millennium. The band currently consists of the following members;

  • Kenny Vance as lead vocal and fouder of the group
  • Johnny Gale (guitar, vocals, music director),
  • Kurt "Frenchy" Yahjian (vocals),
  • Jimmy Bense (vocal),
  • Chip Degaard (keyboards, vocals)
  • Tony Gallino (drums).

This is a very versatile, talented, well experienced group of musicians and entertainers. I have included some links for you to find out more about their history, up coming tour dates, and a direct link to the Kenny Vance and the Planotones website. If I have been able to introduce even one more person to these wonderful performers and musical art form, I am happy to have given Kenny Vance and the Planotones some of the love they give to all of their fans. Let the magic continue!

Kenny Vance Interview With Peter Fornatale

More by this Author


Thank You for Reading and Please Feel Free to Leave a Comment. 27 comments

ralwus 7 years ago

Oh my darling thank you for the nostalgia. I could kiss you. Love it so. Too bad you are too young to have missed those wonderful days, the dancing slow with someone you absolutely adore and the smell of he hair, the temptations to,well...I think I made my point.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay Author

I can imagine. I saw that nostalgia and felt it even though I had not experienced it while younger. When I got home that night I went on youtube and watched more videos. I am so impressed with KV and the music is not what most people would think if they have not heard it before! This music has influenced many pop singers today. Thanks for stopping by~~


SalShu 7 years ago

I was at this show also, and it was the most fabulous show ever! Kenny and the Planotones really brought the house down that night. I knew this would be a good show, but it was so much more than I even expected; I had a smile on my face for days afterward! I recommend that everyone should see Kenny and the Planotones - they are wonderful! I listen to them daily on YouTube, and their CDs are the best!


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay Author

thank you SalShu and thanks for your comment. I also remember having this crazy smile all weekend, the entire evening made me so happy, the music stunned me that it could be performed live so well. they are talented, fabulous entertainers. I have a few of their c.d.s now and listen often!! :)


SalShu 7 years ago

Kenny and the Planotones will be at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL on 3/6/2010 with Jerry Butler and some others for a Doo Wop X show. He's been coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall annually for a few years now each March. First saw him at a Jay Black show where Kenny wasn't the main attraction, but quickly became so as soon as everyone heard him sing! He was amazing! That's when everyone became an instant fan! Also, Kenny will be in Ft. Myers on January 22, 2010 - Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall,13350 Edison Parkway,Ft. Myers, Fl. 33919

Tickets: 800-440-7469

Appearing with: Bobby Lewis, Cookies featuring Margaret Ross, Barbara Harris


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay Author

Thanks for the info! Hope to see them at REH! :)


oscillationatend profile image

oscillationatend 6 years ago from a recovering narcissist.

Super rad. I love doo-wop.

I know, I know, you'd never suspect...


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay Author

thanks so much and I know exactly what you mean. no one would suspect myself being a doo-wop lover either, but these songs are just pure heaven. I can't listen to them without smiling!

nice to see a comment, most views of this hub are outside HP and they don't leave comments. thanks for stopping by! :)

if you've never seen his group perform, I highly recommend it!! you will smile for days afterwards!


Deb Bauer 6 years ago

My husband Bruce & I see Kenny Vance & the Planotones every month. Its funny because this all started when I won tickets to a doo wop show from a radio station juke box Sat. Night.We never saw Kenny Vance & the Planotones before or heard of him. This concert was at the War Memorial in Trenton NJ last year. They came out singing What Time Is It? Well that was it for us! I can't even begin to express all the emotions I went through in that 45 minutes they sang and Kenny's voice and Johnny Gale the guys !all so talented !We have bought all his cd's the movie Looking For An Echo and we now try to see them at least once a month. We have tickets into Feb. of 2011!

All I can say is I didn't realise how dead we were and I can't thank them enough for bringing us back to life! Your music brought back the love we somehow lost through the years. We've been together 23 years married 18. Thanks again ! We Saw You this month at Count Basie. Have to wait till Nov.5th to see you at the Rennisance. We love you Guys! God Bless Stay Well Deb & Bruce


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay Author

Deb, thanks so much for reading and leaving this heart-felt comment. I know exactly what you mean when you say all it took was hearing the first song!! They bring a certain happy feeling that goes deep inside.

I, too, listen to their cd's often. I have tremendous respect for Kenny and how he has worked hard to keep this music alive. The guys in his band are fantastic, and Johnny Gale's music.. the best.

How thrilling that you are able to see the band monthly! That is a treat, for sure! It's wonderful to hear such a great testimony to how their music has enhanced your marriage. Beautiful. thank you for sharing Deb!


wischick 6 years ago

Hubby and I are HUGE fans of Kenny and the Planotones. We live in WI and are willing to travel when possible just to see Up Close and Personal. It is an unbelievable show!


K Vance fan in Fl. 6 years ago

I'm from CT and started to go to Kenny's conserts years ago with my wife. I grew up in the doo wop era and always have had a love for the sound.

Fast forward to today. After the loss of my wife of 33 years I used the tickets we had to see Kenny at the Moheagan Sun and cried through the whole time. I sent a message to Kenny and the reply floord me. This man is the shining star of life for more reasons then there is room here to tell it.

Anyway I moved to Florida a couple years ago and have had the pleasure to see Kenny and the guys down here and also had the greatest time talking with him for an extended period after his shoa on Aug. 12st of this year, my wifes birthday.

It is now Oct 31st and I leave here on Nov 3rd Driving to Ocean Township, Nj to see Kenny and the Duprees on the 5th. Then it's up to Torrington, CT., my home of birth to see attend the Up Close & Personal show on the 12th.

The man is a god sent gift. I can never get enough of his voice, warmth and just good old down to earth personality.

As you found out, there is just some thing very special about Kenny and the group. It's impossible not to become a fan. God bless the day he was given to us.

George D in Florida


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay Author

George, thanks so much for such a wonderful comment. I really see the love in those who have been touched by Kenny Vances life and music. You're so right in that it's more than just their music that touches his audience. It's like a magical balm that soothes us in this often crazy, hard world. I think you're 100% right when saying he is a gift to us. Have a fantastic trip to NJ and CT to see him and his band. I'm glad you found this article to share your love for Kenny Vance and his fantastic Planotones!

@wischick, great to see you here and thrilled to hear you are HUGE fans! Quite honestly, I think once anyone sees him perform, you become an instant fan.

Thanks for reading and commenting!


K Vance fan in Fl. 6 years ago

Greetings, well it's Nov.8th and I'm in Torrington,CT. The drive from Tampa to Asbury Park was long, in the rain all the way. That didn't dampen my sperit one bit. The show on the third was totally awesome, and we know who got every one involved. Kenny and the guys ended up playing an extended set and I had the pleasure of sitting with someone who hadn't seen them before or heard any of their songs. Well her look of bewilderment soon shifted to mild pleasure then all the way to a full blown smile, finger poping and the shoulder movements, the works. The first time Kenny hit a falsetto note a look of total disblieife moved across her face then it hit her like a ton of bricks, love? addmoration? god knows what, but there is a brand new full fledge member of the fan club. I had sopken to her before the show and told her what was going to happen, yeah yeah and all that is what I got back. Let me tell you that when it happens, it's pure pleasure to say, "told you so". Coffee with her after the show turned into a 3 AM break away. She had more question about the Planotones and Kenny then anyone has ever asked me.As usual Kenny took loads of time with his fans but sadly he did have to leave. My high light was when Kenny apologized to me, again I was floored, and asked if I would show up a couple hours early for the show here in CT. He told me when they would be doing the sound checks and said that will give us some time to talk.

Let me tell you this 65 year old teenager is walking 5 feet off the ground.

More to follow after the 12th and the Up Close and Personal.

Sorry if it sounds like I'm crowing. It's just I'm so darn happy the smile is going to last until Kenny and the guys get back down to Florida.


K Vance fan in Fl. 6 years ago

12-09 Happy Birthday Kenny wishing you all the pleasure and happiness that you bring to us.

God Bless.

George D


william b 6 years ago

I grew up in Belle Harbor, Queens and had the privelege to know Kenny before he became famous....looking forward to attend one of his concerts if he ever comes back to Florida...


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay Author

I love reading comments from Kenny's fans. You're all such a great group of people! and thanks K Vance fan in Fl for the birthday update! Sending lots of happiness Kenny's way!!

william b, he'll be back to FL, I'm sure. They have a huge fan base here! thanks for reading and commenting.


K Vance fan in Fl 6 years ago

March 5, 2011

Ruth Eckerd Hall

1111 N. McMullen Booth Road

Clearwater, Fl. 33759

March 6, 2011

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

201 SW Fifth Avenue

Fort Lauderdale, Fl.

March 24, 2011

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

13350 Edison Parkway

Fort Myers, Fl. 33919

March 25, 2011

Sunrise Theatre

117 South Second St.

Fort Pierce, Fl. 34950

and a 3 day cruise out of Tampa in Oct.


Deb Bauer 6 years ago

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KENNY WE LOVE YOU! wE SAW YOU AT COUNT BASIE LAST WEEKEND TOTALLY WONDERFUL!!! CAN'T WAIT FOR NEW YEARS IN KEYPORT! I CAN'T THINK OF A BETTER WAY TO BRING IN THE NEW YEAR MY BFF LOVE OF MY LIFE HUSBAND & KENNY VANCE & THE PLANOTONES!!!! GOD BLESS!


barbara from clifton nj 5 years ago

kenny,we just saw ypur valintine show Feb 12th at the marriot glen point,your show was so great,yourvoice,amazing,we love you and the planotones.keep our music alive forever love you.Barbara from clifton nj.hope to see you real soon.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay Author

My friend just sent me a text image of himself and his girlfriend with Kenny Vance in Clearwater tonight. Now I'm officially 'jealous' because Kenny kissed Dori. Now that sounds like a great night. I'm sorry I missed it! I'm sure it was a great night of music.


TJ SHAUGHNESSY 5 years ago

HI KEDNNY

ARE YOU UYS DOING A SHOW IN DELRAY BEACH FL MARCH 25TH/.

I THOUGHT I SAW SOMETHING ON TV??.

LOVED YOU GUYS ON PBS SPECIAL.

ALL THE BEST

TOM


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay Author

Tom, I checked their website for the schedule and they will be playing in Ft. Pierce on March 25th, at the Sunrise Theatre, 8 P.M. They're scheduled to appear along with the Cleftones and Bill Haley's Comets. Thanks for checking!


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 5 years ago from New York, NY

rebekahELLE- who knew!!! Good thing I read your post and got me over here. You have just given Kenny Vance and the Planotones a new fan . .well actually I must be an old fan for I love love love Jay and the Americans (This Magic Moment is one of my absolute all time favorite songs) And here I learned he had a hand in one of my favorite movies.. Eddie and the Cruisers ! Does it get any better? I think not!!

Just another great lead from one of my favorite hubbers ..


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay Author

Hi Wavegirl! Thanks! I'm so thrilled that you came by and found out who he is! It's instant love as soon as you hear his music. I figured you would absolutely be a fan knowing you're a New Yorker who loves the oldies. They play in New York often. You would love the Up Close and Personal concerts, because that's exactly what they are. It's a wonderful experience. Enjoy!!


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay Author

martha, if you are looking for your comment, I denied it.

I don't know who you are or if what you said is true, so I would rather not post it. Yes, he is a great performer and that's what this hub is about. Thanks for reading. I'm glad you found your echo.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 3 years ago from Tampa Bay Author

Kenny Vance will be in St. Petersburg this Saturday evening at the Palladium. I'm looking forward to another wonderful evening hearing his great music!

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