The Kendalls

The Kendalls were an American country music duo, consisting of Royce Kendall (born Royce Kykendall in Saint Louis, Missouri, September 25, 1935 – May 22, 1998) and his daughter Jeannie Kendall (born October 30, 1954).[1] Between the 1960s and 1990s, they released 16 albums on various labels, including five on Mercury Records. Between 1977 and 1985, 22 of their singles reached the top 40 on Billboards country singles charts, including three number-one hits, "Heaven's Just a Sin Away" (also a number-69 pop hit), "Sweet Desire", and "Thank God for the Radio"; eight additional singles reached the top 10.[1]

The Kendalls
OriginSt. Louis, Missouri, United States
GenresCountry, urban cowboy
Years active1969–1998
United Artists
Step One
Lonesome Dove
Past membersRoyce Kendall
Jeannie Kendall


Royce Kendall and his brother Floyce Kendall were raised in Missouri, with family roots in the Arkansas Ozarks. As young men, the brothers formed a duo and moved to California, where they recorded and performed on regional West Coast country television shows as The Austin Brothers. When they broke up, Royce and his wife Melba moved back to Missouri.

Royce and Melba Kendall's daughter Jeannie proved to be musically talented from an early age, and as a teenager, she became her father's duet partner. In 1969, when Jeannie was 15 years old, the Kendalls recorded an album for Stop Records, from which a single was released in 1970: a cover of John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane" (previously a hit for Peter, Paul & Mary). The Kendalls' version narrowly missed the top 50 on the U.S. country charts.

The duo signed with Dot Records in 1972, and released an album and two singles, "Two Divided By Love", (a cover version of The Grass Roots' pop hit) and "Everything I Own", a cover of Bread's 1972 hit.

The Kendalls parted with Dot before signing with the independent Ovation label in 1977. Their first single for the label, a cover of the Kitty Wells hit "Making Believe," made the lower regions of the charts, but was largely overlooked because Emmylou Harris' version of "Making Believe" hit the U.S. country charts around the same time.

The Kendalls' second single on Ovation, a "cheating" song called "Heaven's Just a Sin Away", proved to be their breakthrough. The song topped the country charts, was a minor crossover pop hit, and won the 1978 Grammy for Best Country Vocal by a Duo or Group.

Subsequent hits included "Just Like Real People", "It Don't Feel Like Sinnin' to Me", "Sweet Desire", "You'd Make an Angel Want to Cheat", and a cover of Dolly Parton's "Put it Off Until Tomorrow". (Jeannie Kendall's powerful soprano has often been compared to Parton's.)[1] In 1981, after Ovation Records closed their doors, the duo signed with Mercury Records, and continued to have hits with the "Teach Me To Cheat" and "If You're Waitin' On Me (You're Backin' Up)", which both made the country top 10. More hits followed with "Movin' Train" and "Precious Love", which made the top 20.

Their last number-one country hit, 1984's "Thank God for the Radio", was also their last single to reach the top 10. Their last top-20 hits came in 1984 and 1985 with "My Baby's Gone" and "I'll Dance Every Dance With You". In 1986, they signed with MCA Records, where they scored three midlevel hits. In 1987, they signed with Step One Records, where they scored several minor hits. In 1989, they signed with Epic Records, where their last chart single, "Blue, Blue Day", made the top 70.

Jeannie Kendall was married to Mack Watkins. In the early 1990s, the Kendalls built a supper club in Gulf Shores, Alabama, which featured nightly performances by them; the club closed down two years later. Afterward, they began performing in Branson, Missouri, where the two families had built homes next door to each other. The Kendalls continued to tour and perform and released several CDs, until May 22, 1998, when Royce Kendall died from a stroke while on tour in Marquette, Iowa.[1]

Jeannie Kendall's solo careerEdit

In the years since her father's death, Jeannie has pursued a solo career, recording two solo albums, including a self-titled acoustic/bluegrass CD on the Rounder label that featured two songs recorded with Royce and several guest artists.[1] These guest artists included Alan Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, and Johnny Long, who had been the Kendalls' backup singer on the road. The second was All The Girls I Am, a much harder-edged pop/country CD released in 2005 on Golden.

Jeannie continues to tour and perform.



Year Album Chart Positions Certifications Label
US Country CAN Country US CAN
1971 Meet the Kendalls Stop
1972 Two Divided by Love Dot
1973 Leavin' on a Jet Plane Power Pak
1977 Let the Music Play / Heaven's Just a Sin Away 5 Gold Platinum Ovation
1978 Old Fashioned Love 16 6
1979 Just Like Real People 12 1
1980 Heart of the Matter 24
1981 The Best 34
Lettin' You In On A Feelin' 42 Mercury
1982 Stickin' Together 38
1983 Movin' Train 16
1984 Two Heart Harmony 27
1986 Thank God for the Radio 59
Fire at First Sight 47 MCA
1987 Break the Routine 51 Step One
1989 20 Favorites Epic
1995 Make a Dance Lonesome Dove


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US CAN Country
1970 "Leaving on a Jet Plane" 52 Meet the Kendalls
"Please Tell Me Why"
1971 "Love Love Love" Non-album song
1972 "Two Divided by Love" 53 Two Divided by Love
"Everything I Own" 66
1973 "You and Me" Non-album songs
"I Wanna Live Here in Your Love"
1975 "Love Do or Die"
"Diesel Gypsy"
1976 "Imaginary Harmony"
1977 "Making Believe" 80 Let the Music Play / Heaven's Just a Sin Away
"Heaven's Just a Sin Away"A 1 69 1
1978 "It Don't Feel Like Sinnin' to Me" 2 2 Old Fashioned Love
"Pittsburgh Stealers" 6 28
"Sweet Desire" 1 2
"Old Fashioned Love" flip
1979 "I Had a Lovely Time" 5 4 Just Like Real People
"Just Like Real People" 11 4
"I Don't Do Like That No More" 16 33
"Never My Love" flip
1980 "You'd Make an Angel Wanna Cheat" 5 17 Heart of the Matter
"I'm Already Blue" 5 25
"Put It Off Until Tomorrow" 9 5
1981 "Heart of the Matter" 26 31
"Teach Me to Cheat" 7 42 Lettin' You In On A Feelin'
1982 "If You're Waiting on Me (You're Backing Up)" 10
"Cheater's Prayer" 30 Stickin' Together
"That's What I Get for Thinking" 35
1983 "Precious Love" 19 Movin' Train
"Movin' Train" 20
1984 "Thank God for the Radio" 1 16
"My Baby's Gone" 15 35
1985 "I'd Dance Every Dance with You" 20 Two Heart Harmony
"Four Wheel Drive" 27
"If You Break My Heart" 26 30
"Two Heart Harmony" 45
1986 "Too Late" 42 31 Fire at First Sight
"Fire at First Sight" 60
"Little Doll" 46 53
1987 "Routine" 54 Break the Routine
"Dancin' with Myself Tonight" 51
"Still Pickin' Up After You" 62
1988 "Rhythm of Romance" 57
1989 "Blue Blue Day" 69 20 Favorites
1995 "Make a Dance"[2] Make a Dance
  • A"Heaven's Just a Sin Away" also peaked at No. 37 on the RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks chart and No. 59 on the RPM Top Singles chart in Canada.

Guest singlesEdit

Year Single Artist Peak positions Album
US Country
1985 "One Big Family" Heart of Nashville 61 non-album song

Music videosEdit

Year Video Director
1983 ”Movin' Train“ Jim Shea
1985 "If You Break My Heart"[3] Bayron Binkley
"One Big Family" (Heart of Nashville) Steve Von Hagel
1987 "Dancin' With Myself Tonight" N/A
1994 "Make a Dance"[4] Michael Killen


  1. ^ a b c d Mansfield, Brian (13 March 2003). "Jeannie Kendall, rekindled". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  2. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. January 28, 1995.
  3. ^ "New Videoclips" (PDF). Billboard. August 24, 1985.
  4. ^ "CMT : Videos : The Kendalls : Make A Dance". Country Music Television. Retrieved September 29, 2011.

External linksEdit