June 13, 2024


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Kenny Vance, still looking for an echo, recalls a long career: Video

Kenny Vance had a front-row seat for the dawn of the rock ‘n’ roll era, in New York City during the late 1950s. “It was very frenetic in those days,” he tells Bob Porter on Saturday Morning Function, “because it was a brand-new thing, and nobody really knew what to do.”

Vance was a founding member of Jay and the Americans, which had a series of hit singles in the ‘60s. Toward the end of the decade, he managed the songwriting duo of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, just before they formed Steely Dan. “I actually put them into the last incarnation of Jay and the Americans,” he recalls, “so Donald played keyboards and Walter played bass.”

In this conversation, Vance also remembers the producer Joel Dorn, who brought him the song “Looking for an Echo,” which became his theme song. Vance also describes his film career, which includes serving as music supervisor for Eddie and the Cruisers and American Hot Wax, among others.

Kenny Vance and the Planotones have remained active on the oldies and doo-wop circuit. They’ll headline a program called “The Best of Doo Wop Vol. IV” on Jan. 26, 2019 at the Cerritos Center for The Performing Arts in Cerritos, Calif.

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