Jeri Southern, was a classically trained pianist who became a jazz-oriented vocalist in the 1950s, whose hit You Better Go Now proved the most successful of her several recordings.
Born Genevieve Hering, on 5 August 1926, in Royal, Nebraska, Southern studied at the Notre Dame Academy, Omaha, and later played piano at the local Blackstone Hotel. After touring with a US Navy recruiting show, where she began singing, she worked at several venues in Chicago in the late 40s. These included the Hi Note Club, where she supported stars such as Anita O’Day.
After obtaining a nightly spot on television, Southern was signed to Decca Records and had US Top 30 hits with ‘You Better Go Now’ (1951) and ‘Joey’ (1954). Her wistful version of ‘When I Fall In Love’ established her as a favorite in the UK, where she also had a Top 30 hit with ‘Fire Down Below’ (1957). She then switched to the Capitol Records label and made the highly acclaimed “Jeri Southern Meets Cole Porter,” which featured a set of humorous arrangements by Billy May, including a 20s setting of ‘Don’t Look At Me That Way’.