A promising vocalist of the early to mid-fifties with two national hits, and more regional hits, to her credit, but whose primary claim to fame is through her family connections.

She was born Bertha Lulu Williams in New Jersey in 1923, her younger brother Tony coming along five years later and both were latecomers to the national recording scene, well into their twenties when they first made waves.

Bertha was first, having moved to Los Angeles and changing her name to Linda Hayes where she got a contract with Recorded In Hollywood while receiving a surprising promotional build-up for such a small company. It paid off however as she scored hits immediately, first locally with her debut and then nationally with its follow-ups, utilizing a strong but demure voice with excellent technical precision.

Her biggest success came with an answer record to a blues smash of all things. She was versatile enough to pull it off, but while she could be sassy or vibrant, it was clear the hope was to have her excel in slightly classier settings, though not with overt pop crossover aspirations.

The early promise Hayes showed largely went unfulfilled after that, as she bounced around without finding her own distinct niche, even as she kept recording. By this time she’d convinced her brother to join her on the West Coast and Tony Williams hooked up with a group which soon gelled as The Platters. Through Tony, they signed with Hayes’ manager, acclaimed songwriter Buck Ram, who turned his focus into developing their potential.

Linda sang with The Platters backing her before their breakthrough, but from the time they hit it big in 1955 Hayes’s best days were behind her, though she continued recording for the rest of the decade before fading into obscurity.

She outlived her younger brother by six years, passing away at the age of 74 in 1998.

LINDA HAYES DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

(Recorded In Hollywood 246; November, 1952)
An ambitious two-part record that has a somewhat subversive plot buried a little too deep to be easily understood, and though Hayes sounds good and the backing by Que Martyn’s group is nicely done, the arrangement is too stagnant to justify its run time. (5)