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Bonnie Lou

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Bonnie Lou (born Mary Jo Kath October 27, 1924, Towanda, Illinois) is an American rock and roll and country music singer. During the mid-1950s, Bonnie Lou helped pave the way for future female artists as one of rock and roll’s first female singers. Many of her rock and roll hits were also crossover hits in the world of country music

Bonnie Lou’s real name is Mary Jo Kath, and she was born in 1924 in Illinois. Mary grew up listening to Patsy Montana and her band “The Prairie Ramblers”, and was greatly inspired by her. Mary learned how to yodel, which was from the help of her Swiss grandmother. As a child she learned how to play two instruments, the violin and guitar. By the young age of 16, she was singing and performing on a local radio show in Bloomington, Illinois. By age 18, Mary went on a bigger radio show, which aired in Kansas City, Missouri. Her exposure on this radio show in Kansas City, helped her land a job as a singer on WLW Radio in Cincinnati, Ohio, where station executive Bill McCluskey hired Mary as a singer a yodeler for his radio show called Midwestern Hayride Country & Western Radio Program. McCluskey was the one who gave Mary Jo the stage name she would be known by for the rest of her life, “Bonnie Lou”. While on the radio show in Cincinnati, Lou performed regularly with Country Music girl group the Girls of the Golden West, which Lou listened to as a child.

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