Popular Music History, Vol 5, No 3 (2010)

‘A West Indian? You must be joking! I come out of the East End’: Kenny Lynch and English racism in the 1950s and 1960s

Jon Stratton
Issued Date: 25 Jan 2012


Kenny Lynch was the first successful black British pop singer. Lynch moved from singing jazz standards to popular music in 1960. By the mid-1960s, when his popularity as a singer declined, Lynch was on his way to becoming the most well-known black, British-born, all-round entertainer in Britain. He worked as a song-writer, an actor in films and as a stand-up comedian. As Lynch developed his successful career, Britain was in the grip of a race-based scare about West Indian, and South Asian, immigration. There has been little work published on post-Second World War British-born popular singers before the era of the post-1948 West Indian migration. This article explores the racial context of Lynch’s success and explores the positioning of Lynch as a British-born black man.

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DOI: 10.1558/pomh.v5i3.305


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