Jacqueline McKinnon is 60 years old this week. You may not recognise that name but she had a number one hit in 1980 and was better known as Kelly Marie.
She was born in Paisley in Scotland and, as a child, was always singing so her parents entered her for the television talent show Opportunity Knocks when she was 16 where she performed I Don’t Know How to Love Him, from Jesus Chris Superstar, under the name Keli Brown and she won four times which, in-turn, led to a record deal with Pye records who released her first single Who’s that Lady with my Man in 1976, but it failed to chart.
Two years later her next single, Make Love To Me, failed in the UK but made number two in South Africa and number five in Australia where it spent over 40 weeks on the chart. Next came Feels Like I’m In Love which she got to record accidentally. The song was written by Ray Dorset on Mungo Jerry who explained to me in an interview, “I wrote Feels Like I’m In Love in 1977 with Elvis Presley in mind and even recorded it Elvis-style on my demo. My producer, Barry Murray, was about to send it to Elvis when he got a phone call saying Elvis had died. After that, I kinda put it to bed for a while. Kelly Marie had a few minor hits in France and had been hanging around our office a bit. I thought she had a good voice, so I asked her if she wanted to record the song.” It was released in 1978 but, yet again, failed to chart.
Two years later a club DJ in Scotland began playing it and soon it was re-issued and became a number one hit.
She had three further hits, Loving Just for Fun, Hot Love and Love Trial, each one fairing less well than its predecessor and so in 1984 took a break to get married and bring up her six children. She made a comeback on 1997 with an album which contained newly recorded versions of Feels Like I’m in Love and Hot Love as well as cover versions of Robbie Williams’ Millennium, Blanket on the Ground, I’m In the Mood for Dancing and River Deep – Mountain High but it failed to excite the record buying public.
In 2005 she appeared in the eight-week ITV show Hit Me, Baby, One More Time where each celebrity contestant sang one of their own song plus a cover version. Kelly naturally sang Feels Like I’m In Love followed by Britney Spears’ Oops!… I Did It Again. She was up against Nick van Eede from the Cutting Crew, Sybil, the girl band Cleopatra and Chesney Hawkes who was that heat’s winner. The series was eventually won by Shakin’ Stevens.
Let’s enjoy her cheesy, but infectious number one from 37 years ago.