Please visit my sites Queer Music Heritage and OutRadio

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Danny O'Connor Became Canary Conn

The recording I am talking about today is the earliest in my collection by an artist who later transitioned, in this case, from man to woman. Yes, I have older ones, by Christine Jorgensen, Bambi, and others, but their singing efforts were all after they became known as transsexual.

Danny O'Connor became Canary Conn, and both have interesting stories. Danny grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and from a young age wanted to sing professionally. He got his break early, at age 18, by winning the nationwide contest "Super Teen: The Sounds of '68." He won best male vocalist, and a contract with Capitol Records, and in 1969 a 45 with two songs was released, "If I Am Not Free" and "Can You Imagine." 

Click to Hear Both Songs

or watch a video slide show

The 45 did little, but in promoting it he did net appearances on national teen music shows, including "The Larry Kane Show," on KTRK in Houston. He also acquired a wife (August 1968) and son along the way. The journey would get tougher though, right away. Within five years he would attempt suicide, go through a divorce (September 1970) and be denied contact with his son. And at age 23 he would transition, and take a new name, Canary Conn. Canary went public at this point, 1974, writing an autobiography "Canary: The Story of a Transsexual." Back in the spotlight, she appeared on such talk shows as The Merv Griffin Show, and Tom Synder's show, "Tomorrow," and on "The Phil Donahue Show," with the additional publicity yielding the paperback version of her book. 

And then the story pretty much stopped. I found on one blog someone saying they had "heard" Conn died around 1984, but nothing to back that up. A friend, with a subscription to, could not find any death verification. Other than places to buy copies of the book, there is actually very little on the internet about Canary Conn. If anyone has recent information (as in, after 1975, please let me know)


  1. Would love to hear the Danny O'Connor songs, but when I click link, I only get an M3U file auto-downloaded which does nothing.

  2. Sorry, David, not sure what to suggest, as it works on my end (using Firefox)

  3. I'm unable to hear the songs either on Firefox, Chrome, or IE.

    1. Kelley and David....I can hear them immediately on my end in Firefox or IE, so not sure what I could I added a video slide show.

  4. I also wondered what happened to her, if she is dead or alive. There is so little info and photos of her online. I bought her book 'Canary' back in 1980. Someone on Youtube, who said they once knew her, is that her real name is Denise, not Canary. If that's the case that may explain why no one can find any current information about her.