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A native of Southern California, Young was born in the Orange County seat, Santa Ana, and rose to stardom in 1960 when Jim Lee, a producer at Indigo Records who, two years earlier, organized the Sun Valley-based band, The Innocents, and arranged their appearance on Wink Martindale's pop music TV show, asked them to sing backup vocals for her on the cover version of the song which had been issued without commercial success in 1954 for The Rivileers, "A Thousand Stars". In December, two months after her 15th birthday, Kathy Young and The Innocents peaked at No. 6 on the Black Singles chart, and at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Young's follow-up was "Happy Birthday Blues", which hit No. 30 on the Hot 100 in 1961. Subsequent singles, such as "Magic Is the Night" and "The Great Pretender", missed the Top 40.
In 1962 she followed Jim Lee to Monogram Records, recording solo and with Chicano rock singer Chris Montez. Still a teenager, she saw her promising career slowing to a standstill and, in 1964, traveled to London where she married American singer-songwriter John Maus, whose stage name was John Walker. The marriage to Maus, remembered as the founder of The Walker Brothers, a pop group most successful in the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom, lasted from 1965 to 1968.
Returning to the U.S. in 1969, she remarried two years later and over the next twenty years raised children and helped manage the family citrus ranch in Central California. After a move back to Los Angeles in 1994, she began working for a major international company, while also coming home to her original passion, music and, in the 2000s, performing on numerous rock shows at venues such as the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and New Jersey's Izod Center at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.