Kathleen Lane

aka Kitty Lane

Often called by her nickname, “Kitty,” vocalist Kathleen Lane sang with several major bands during the late 1930s, though she is best remembered for her time with Bunny Berigan. Lane married and retired from show business in 1940.

Lane started her career in northeastern territorial orchestras during the mid-1930s. From 1934 through mid-1935, she appeared with Doc Peyton, where she was heard over CBS on Schenectady, New York, radio station WGY, and in late 1935 she sang for Freddy Shaffer. In 1935, she also appeared regularly on radio station WNCA and at the Club Normandie in Boston. In May 1936, Lane sang with the Weede-Meyer Orchestra but by August of that year had joined Ted Brownagle, sharing vocal duties with Virginia Bennett in both bands. In January 1937, she was working solo on the New York area club circuit, billed as the “sweetheart of swing.”

By April 1937, Lane had joined Charlie Barnet’s band, with whom she was billed as a blues singer. She recorded several songs with Barnet in May but soon after joined Glenn Miller as part of his second, unsuccessful orchestra, debuting with the band during its June opening at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans. Miller’s 1937 band failed to find success and finally broke up in early 1938. By July 1938, Lane was with Isham Jones, where she received regular national radio exposure. She remained with Jones until at least September 1938. A Billboard review of her performance that month was negative, with the reviewer noting that she “hasn’t yet learned to sell a song to good advantage.”

Lane had joined Berigan by November 1938, where she finally began to gain attention as a singer, recording several now classic songs with the orchestra. She left Berigan sometime after April 1939, joining Bob Chester in July. A Billboard review of her performance with Chester noted that she “knows how to sell a song.”

Lane remained with Chester through September 1939, when she left for Red Norvo’s outfit. By November, though, she was with Bob Crosby, where she remained until at least January 1940. Lane retired from band work at some point soon after, marrying Jerry Johnson, who had worked as road manager for Barnet and Berigan. She returned to singing only briefly thereafter, filling in as vocalist for Chester’s orchestra in June 1940 when Dolores O’Neill, who had been her replacement, was out for an operation. In November 1940, she filled in with Woody Herman’s band until he could find a permanent replacement after his female singer, Dillagene, had left the orchestra due to illness. Lane sang with Herman until December 20.

Lane’s husband began working in the music publishing business in 1941, and in 1948 the couple bought a farm in Clinton, New Jersey. Lane gave birth to a daughter in April 1949.


  1. Advertisement. “Doc Peyton.” The North Adams Evening Transcript [North Adams, Massachusetts] 25 May 1934: 7.
  2. Advertisement. “Doc Peyton.” Altoona Mirror [Altoona, Pennsylvania] 19 Dec 1934: 18.
  3. Advertisement. “Doc Peyton.” Pittsfield Berkshire Evening Eagle [Pittsfield, Massachusetts] 4 May 1935: 4.
  4. Advertisement. “Freddy Shaffer.” The North Adams Transcript [North Adams, Massachusetts] 3 Sep. 1935: 5.
  5. Advertisement. “Pop Cameron's Casino.” Syracuse Herald [Syracuse, New York] 9 Oct. 1935: 14.
  6. “Program at Rocky Mount.” Billboard 23 May 1936: 79.
  7. “Baker on Betterment.” Billboard 8 Aug. 1936: 41.
  8. “Night Club Reviews: Merry-Go-Round Club, Newark, N.J.” Billboard 16 Jan. 1937: 12.
  9. Advertisement. “Charlie Barnet.” Cumberland Evening Times [Cumberland, Maryland] 29 Apr. 1937: 9.
  10. “Streamlined Chassis.” Down Beat Jul. 1937: 16.
  11. “Glenn Miller Opens in New Orleans with New Band.” Down Beat Jul. 1937: 31.
  12. “Isham Jones Jones To Play Concert And Dance Here On Tuesday.” The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal 17 Jul. 1938: 6.
  13. “The Reviewing Stand: Isham Jones.” Billboard 10 Sep. 1938: 13.
  14. “Bergan [sic] Orchestra At Lorain Tuesday.” Elyria Chronicle Telegram [Elyria, Ohio] 21 Jan. 1939: 6.
  15. Advertisement. “Bunny Berigan.” Charleston Daily Mail [Charleston, West Virginia] 29 Mar. 1939: 5.
  16. “Berigan Fools All.” Down Beat Apr. 1939: 20.
  17. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 29 Jul. 1939: 10.
  18. “The Reviewing Stand: Bob Chester.” Billboard 9 Sep. 1939: 13.
  19. “Popular Orchestra Plays for Parish Reunion.” The Lowell Sun [Lowell, Massachusetts] 12 Oct. 1939: 8.
  20. “Nation's Big Name Leaders Shift Men Like Tenpins.” Down Beat 15 Oct. 1939: 11.
  21. “Screenings: 'Roaring Twenties' Same Old Stuff.” The Columbia Spectator [New York, New York] 17 Nov. 1939: 2.
  22. “Crosby Band Goes Sweet in Pittsburgh.” Down Beat 1 Feb. 1940: 19.
  23. Egan, Jack. “New York News.” Down Beat 1 Jul. 1940: 12.
  24. “Comes Through In the Clutch.” Down Beat 15 Dec. 1940: 12.
  25. “Herman Herd Gets New Girl Singer.” Down Beat 1 Jan. 1941: 2.
  26. “Jerry Johnson in Music Promotion.” Down Beat 15 Apr. 1941: 23.
  27. “Trade Tattle: Publishing.” Down Beat 30 Jun. 1948: 7.
  28. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 17 Nov. 1948: 5.
  29. “New Numbers.” Down Beat 3 Jun. 1949: 10.