Born May 17, 1949 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, James Barry Keefer is the singer famous for his 1967 hit “98.6”. Known by just “Keith” his music career started in the early sixties with his first band The Admirations. They recorded one Columbia single called “Caravan of Lonely Men”. He was soon discovered by DJ Kal Rudman (a Top 40 disc jockey at WCAM in Camden, New Jersey, and later Billboard magazine’s first R&B editor).
Rudman introduced Keith to Jerry Ross (American songwriter, A&R man, record producer, and record label owner, worked at Mercury Records and later set up his own record labels, Heritage and Colossus, secured the rights to the Shocking Blue in America) who signed him to the Mercury label. His first solo single was “Ain’t Gonna Lie”/”Our Love Started All Over Again” which cracked the Billboard Top 40 chart at number 39.
Next he’d record his famous single “98.6”/The Teeny Bopper Song” in January 1967, charting as a Top 10 record, reaching number 7, selling over a million copies and earning him a gold record. He continued, with “Tell Me To My Face”/”Pretty Little Shy One”, breaking into the Top 40 again at 37 and “Daylight Savin’ Time”/”Happy Walking Around” which would make the Top 100 at number 79.
The next singles were “Sugar Man”/”Easy as Pie”, “I’m So Proud”/”Candy Candy” reaching number 135 and in 1968 “The Pleasure Of Your Company”/”Hurry” which was the end of the Mercury Record singles. Keith’s Mercury albums were “98.6/Ain’t Gonna Lie” in 1966 and “Out of Crank” 1967. Moving to RCA he released the LP “The Adventures of Keith” which had one single, “Marstrand”/”The Problem” which did not chart.
In 1974 he released his last single, “In And Out Of Love”/”What Did You Do In The Revolution Dad?” released on DiscReet Records. Keith released an album in 2004 called “Ain’t Gonna Lie” on RPM Records.
In the sixties he was featured in many teen magazines, and toured with top acts including The Beach Boys and Neil Diamond. In the 1970’s he toured with Frank Zappa and appeared on Dick Clark’s “Where The Action Is” twenty times. Also in the 70’s he was recruited to sing lead for Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention which lasted a few years. He now does a lot of television production work and performs at oldie shows.