Mixed Photos
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A popular trio to the troops of the 24th Infantry Division
A song they sang, 'China Nights', was often called 'She Ain't Got No Yo-Yo', by the men who listened to it
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The Kim Sisters
The Kim Sisters were Sook-ja (Korean; 김숙자), Mi-a (Korean; 김미아) and Ai-ja Kim ( 김애자). They
started their career as the entertainers, singing for U.S. troops in Korea in 1954. They were the three
of the seven children of Kim Hae-song ( 김해송, 1911 – 1950), a classical music conductor and
popular composer who was captured and killed by the North Koreans during the Korean War, and
Lee Nan-Young ( 이난영, 1916 – 1967), one of Korea’s most famous singers before the World War II,
best known for her 1935 nationwide hit song, “The Tears from Mokpo (목포의 눈물)”.

Lee had been singing for the foreign troops, to earn enough money for them to survive, when one
day she got the idea of having three of her daughters sing, too. The girls did not know English at that
time, so they learned the songs phonetically. Just 13, 12 and 11 years old at the time, the first song
they sang was the Hoagy Carmichael’s “Ole’ Buttermilk Sky”.

The show went well and soon the sisters were singing regularly, all the popular music and early rock’
n'roll of the day. Soldiers would give them chocolate bars, which in turn they would trade in for real
food on the black market, but it was enough to get by.

In 1958 they were discovered by an American agent who booked them into the Thunderbird Hotel in
Las Vegas, as part of a show called the China Doll Review. The three of them earned $400 a month.
After a month at the Thunderbird, they were picked up by another Vegas hotel, the Stardust, where
they played for eight months.

In 1959 they got their big break when they were asked to play on the Ed Sullivan Sho, and being on
his show made the Kim Sisters a nationally known act.

Over the next 14 years, they would perform on Ed Sullivan 22 times, the most of any performer who
appeared Ed Sullivan show. They were featured in LIFE and NEWSWEEK and other magazines. Far
from singing for chocolate bars, the Kim Sisters eventually were making around $13,000 a week.

They kept performing in Vegas and elsewhere for years, although after they got married in the
1970s, the act pretty much came to an end.