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Jo-Ann Kelly Facts

The Life and Legacy of Jo-Ann Kelly: A Musical Icon

Jo-Ann Kelly may not be a household name, but her fans and peers know and appreciate her contribution to the blues genre. Born on January 5, 1944, in London, England, Kelly’s musical inclination was evident from a young age. Her voice was powerful, unique, and soulful, making her one of the most influential female blues singers of her time.

Early Life and Career

Growing up in a musical family, Kelly’s father, Keith Kelly, played jazz piano, and her mother, Jean Kelly, was a big band singer. Her siblings also had an interest in music, with her brother, Dave, going on to become a successful blues guitarist. Jo-Ann Kelly began performing at local pubs in London in the early 1960s. Her bluesy voice and guitar playing made her a standout performer. She was soon asked to perform at some of London’s most prestigious blues clubs, such as the Marquee and the 100 Club.

Kelly’s early career also saw her work with blues icons, such as Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies. She was a standout performer on Korner’s album, “R&B from the Marquee,” which was released in 1962.

Personal Life

Kelly was married twice. Her first marriage was to guitarist and songwriter Pete Emery. Their union was short-lived, and the couple eventually divorced. Later in life, Kelly married guitarist Michael Messer, with whom she had a son, Eddie. Kelly was a devoted mother to her son, and her family was just as significant to her as her music.

Career Highlights

Kelly had a successful career that spanned more than two decades. Her soulful voice and guitar playing captured the hearts of her audience, and her music inspired many. Here are some of her most notable career highlights:

– In 1969, Kelly recorded her first album, “Jo-Ann Kelly.” The album was reissued in 2005.

– She toured Europe with blues legends, such as Son House and Mississippi Fred McDowell.

– Kelly’s love for the blues was evident in her music. She released several blues albums, including “Trapped!” (1973) and “Talkin’ Low” (1995).

– Her ability to connect with her audience made her a beloved blues artist. She performed regularly, both in the UK and in the US.

– Kelly also collaborated with many other blues musicians, such as John Fahey, Eric Bibb, and John Renbourn.

– Her music was featured in the 1998 movie, “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.”

Top Songs and Legacy

Kelly’s music was soulful, heartfelt, and bluesy, conveying emotions that connected with her audience. Some of her most popular songs include “Black Rat Swing,” “Key to the Highway,” and “Spoonful.” Kelly’s music has influenced many musicians, including Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton. She remains an enduring influence on the British blues scene, even decades after her passing.

Net Worth and Recognition

Kelly’s contributions to the music industry were significant, but unfortunately, she did not achieve the level of commercial success enjoyed by other musicians. She passed away in 1990 at the age of 46, after a battle with cancer. Despite not achieving commercial success, Kelly’s music has remained a vital part of the blues genre in the UK.

While Kelly’s net worth is not known, her legacy as a pioneer of British blues is unquestionable. She remains a beloved icon in the blues community and a source of inspiration to many aspiring musicians.


Jo-Ann Kelly’s impact on the blues genre cannot be overstated. Her love for the blues, combined with her powerful voice and guitar playing, made her a force to be reckoned with. Her music and legacy continue to inspire new generations of musicians and fans, keeping the blues alive and thriving. Kelly’s story is one of determination, perseverance, and passion, and it serves as a reminder of the power of music to connect people across generations and cultures.

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