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Ella Fitzgerald

"The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald was arguably the finest female jazz singer of all time (although some may vote for Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday). Blessed with a beautiful voice and a wide range, Fitzgerald could outswing anyone, was a brilliant scat singer, and had near-perfect elocution; one could always understand the words she sang. The one fault was that, since she always sounded so happy to be singing, Fitzgerald did not always dig below the surface of the lyrics she interpreted and she even made a downbeat song such as "Love for Sale" sound joyous. However, when one evaluates her career on a whole, there is simply no one else in her class.

One could never guess from her singing that Ella Fitzgerald's early days were as grim as Billie Holiday's. Growing up in poverty, Fitzgerald was literally homeless for the year before she got her big break. In 1934, she appeared at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, winning an amateur contest by singing "Judy" in the style of her idol, Connee Boswell. After a short stint with Tiny Bradshaw, Fitzgerald was brought to the attention of Chick Webb by Benny Carter (who was in the audience at the Apollo). Webb, who was not impressed by the 17-year-old's appearance, was reluctantly persuaded to let her sing with his orchestra on a one-nighter. She went over well and soon the drummer recognized her commercial potential. Starting in 1935, Fitzgerald began recording with Webb's Orchestra, and by 1937 over half of the band's selections featured her voice. "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" became a huge hit in 1938 and "Undecided" soon followed. During this era, Fitzgerald was essentially a pop/swing singer who was best on ballads while her medium-tempo performances were generally juvenile novelties. She already had a beautiful voice but did not improvise or scat much; that would develop later.

On June 16, 1939, Chick Webb died. It was decided that Fitzgerald would front the orchestra even though she had little to do with the repertoire or hiring or firing the musicians. She retained her popularity and when she broke up the band in 1941 and went solo; it was not long before her Decca recordings contained more than their share of hits. She was teamed with the Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, and the Delta Rhythm Boys for some best-sellers, and in 1946 began working regularly for Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic. Granz became her manager although it would be nearly a decade before he could get her on his label. A major change occurred in Fitzgerald's singing around this period. She toured with Dizzy Gillespie's big band, adopted bop as part of her style, and started including exciting scat-filled romps in her set. Her recordings of "Lady Be Good," "How High the Moon," and "Flying Home" during 1945-1947 became popular and her stature as a major jazz singer rose as a result. For a time (December 10, 1947-August 28, 1953) she was married to bassist Ray Brown and used his trio as a backup group. Fitzgerald's series of duets with pianist Ellis Larkins in 1950 (a 1954 encore with Larkins was a successful follow-up) found her interpreting George Gershwin songs, predating her upcoming Songbooks series.

After appearing in the film Pete Kelly's Blues in 1955, Fitzgerald signed with Norman Granz's Verve label and over the next few years she would record extensive Songbooks of the music of Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Rodgers & Hart, Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and Johnny Mercer. Although (with the exception of the Ellington sets) those were not her most jazz-oriented projects (Fitzgerald stuck mostly to the melody and was generally accompanied by string orchestras), the prestigious projects did a great deal to uplift her stature. At the peak of her powers around 1960, Fitzgerald's hilarious live version of "Mack the Knife" (in which she forgot the words and made up her own) from Ella in Berlin is a classic and virtually all of her Verve recordings are worth getting.

Fitzgerald's Capitol and Reprise recordings of 1967-1970 are not on the same level as she attempted to "update" her singing by including pop songs such as "Sunny" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," sounding quite silly in the process. But Fitzgerald's later years were saved by Norman Granz's decision to form a new label, Pablo. Starting with a Santa Monica Civic concert in 1972 that is climaxed by Fitzgerald's incredible version of "C Jam Blues" (in which she trades off with and "battles" five classic jazzmen), Fitzgerald was showcased in jazz settings throughout the 1970s with the likes of Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, and Joe Pass, among others. Her voice began to fade during this era and by the 1980s her decline due to age was quite noticeable. Troubles with her eyes and heart knocked her out of action for periods of time, although her increasingly rare appearances found Fitzgerald still retaining her sense of swing and joyful style. By 1994, Ella Fitzgerald was in retirement and she passed away two years later, but she remains a household name and scores of her recordings are easily available on CD. ~ Scott Yanow

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Top Fans of Ella Fitzgerald

  1. jillythomas
  2. Hush_Angie
  3. donnabenson43
  4. ff_alejovivas
  5. erikatze
  6. mayria
  7. alfmeister
  8. MayraGarcia_1

Top Shares of Ella Fitzgerald

  1. bf6c72b7f7fdd4db1f004283580121de

    Manhattan by Ella Fitzgerald

    The "first lady of song" is honored today on Google Doodle, as it would be her 96th birthday. Ella Fitzgerald's career spannedd 6 decades with her recording over 200 albums and winning 13 grammys. Her legacy lives on through her beautiful music. #wik

  2. c92ca407b457c62aa8e33d7531184769

    Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow by Ella Fitzgerald

    @brandilinn @tuffenuff4u @buterphly83 @HoneySapphire @DeniseRocksU @JuicyGeorgiaPeach @Jenevey @Tam_O @LilStore1 @Celerina @scooby74

  3. ed22745f8a1bc0d226b7606c74d5d32f

    Baby, It's Cold Outside by Ella Fitzgerald

    And this one is for my beloved sister! @brandilinn #fridaybeforechristmassnacks @tuffenuff4u @buterphly83 @DeniseRocksU @Celerina @beautifuldisaster1twistedmind @HoneySapphire @JuicyGeorgiaPeach @Jenevey @Tam_O @DJSpiceMix @Courtballou @RoxaneRoxy

  4. 30a32107d8c7a7607ae2918954ef462a

    Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow by Ella Fitzgerald

Discography of Ella Fitzgerald - All lyrics submitted by our Wiki Community

Twelve Nights in Hollywood - Ella Fitzgerald

Twelve Nights in Hollywood

  1. Introduction
  2. Lover Come Back to Me
  3. Too Close for Comfort
  4. Little White Lies
  5. On the Sunny Side of the Street
  6. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive
  7. Baby Won't You Please Come Home
  8. I Found a New Baby
  9. On a Slow Boat to China
  10. My Heart Belongs to Daddy
  11. Perdido
  12. I've Got a Crush on You
  13. But Not for Me
  14. You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me
  15. Across the Alley From the Alamo
  16. I'm Glad There Is You
  17. 'Round Midnight
  18. Take the "A" Train
  19. Mr. Paganini
  20. Nice Work If You Can Get It
  21. I Can't Get Started
  22. Give Me the Simple Life
  23. Caravan
  24. One for My Baby
  25. Lorelei
  26. A-Tisket, A-Tasket
  27. Witchcraft
  28. Gone With the Wind
  29. Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe
  30. It's De-Lovely
  31. The Lady Is a Tramp
  32. That Old Black Magic
  33. Lullaby of Birdland
  34. Ella Introduces the Band
  35. Imagination
  36. Blue Moon
  37. Joe Williams' Blues
  38. The Lady's in Love With You
  39. Love Is Here to Stay
  40. Come Rain or Come Shine
  41. Anything Goes
  42. This Could Be the Start of Something Big
  43. Candy
  44. Little Girl Blue
  45. You're Driving Me Crazy
  46. It's All Right With Me
  47. Just Squeeze Me (but Please Don't Tease Me)
  48. 'S Wonderful
  49. How High the Moon
  50. Deep Purple
  51. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
  52. Mack the Knife
  53. Exactly Like You
  54. Rock It for Me
  55. Stompin' at the Savoy
  56. Love for Sale
  57. St. Louis Blues
  58. All of Me
  59. Hard Hearted Hannah
  60. Broadway
  61. My Kind of Boy
  62. It Had to Be You
  63. C'est Magnifique
  64. How Long Has This Been Going On
  65. When Your Lover Has Gone
  66. Taking a Chance on Love
  67. Good Morning Heartache
  68. Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie
  69. Hallelujah, I Love Him So
  70. Angel Eyes
  71. Ol' Man Mose
  72. Teach Me Tonight
  73. Too Darn Hot/Ella's Twist
  74. Too Darn Hot
  75. Bewitched
  76. Bill Bailey
  77. Bill Bailey (Reprise)
100 Hits Legends - Ella Fitzgerald

100 Hits Legends

  1. Manhattan
  2. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
  3. A Fine Romance
  4. I've Got You Under My Skin
  5. With a Song in My Heart
  6. My Funny Valentine
  7. Let's Face the Music and Dance
  8. Night and Day
  9. There's a Small Hotel
  10. Isn't This a Lovely Day
  11. Puttin' on the Ritz
  12. Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)
  13. The Lady Is a Tramp
  14. In the Still of the Night
  15. All of You
  16. Blue Moon
  17. I Could Write a Book
  18. I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket
  19. The Song Is Ended
  20. It's a Lovely Day Today
  21. What Is This Thing Called Love?
  22. You Do Something to Me
  23. Buzzard Song
  24. What You Want Wid Bess?
  25. I Love Paris
  26. Let Yourself Go
  27. O Can't Give You Anything but Love
  28. Soon
  29. Someone to Watch Over Me
  30. Heat Wave
  31. It's De-Lovely
  32. Tenderly
  33. Always True to You in My Fashion
  34. Lazy
  35. Alexander's Ragtime Band
  36. But Not for Me
  37. Miss Otis Regrets
  38. Ace in the Hole
  39. All by Myself
  40. Reaching for the Moon
  41. Angel Eyes
  42. I've Got the World on a String
  43. I Wished on the Moon
  44. Taking a Chance on Love
  45. Dream a Little Dream of Me
  46. Happy Talk
  47. Black Coffee
  48. Moanin' Low
  49. On the Sunny Side of the Street
  50. How Hight the Moon
  51. You'll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini) (If You Can't Sing It)
  52. Crying
  53. Smooth Sailing
  54. My One and Only Love
  55. That Old Black Magic
  56. Lover Come Back to Me
  57. Old Devil Moon
  58. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
  59. You'll Never Know
  60. I Can't Get Started
  61. I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
  62. Change Partners
  63. The Tender Trap (Love Is)
  64. An Empty Ballroom
  65. Walking by the River
  66. Mixed Emotions
  67. It Might as Well Be Spring
  68. Thanks for the Memory
  69. Looking for a Boy
  70. Maybe
  71. It's All Right With Me
  72. No Strings
  73. Russian Lullaby
  74. I Want to Stay Here (I Love You Porgy)
  75. From This Moment On
  76. I Used to Be Color Blind
  77. Suppertime
  78. They Cant't Take That Away From Me
  79. Anything Goes
  80. Begin the Beguine
  81. Summertime
  82. You're the Top
  83. This Can't Be Love
  84. It Never Entered Ma Mind
  85. Solitude
  86. Nice Work If You Can Get It
  87. Makin' Whoopee
  88. Lover
  89. Stardust
  90. People Will Say We're in Love
  91. Until the Real Thing Comes Along
  92. Please Be Kind
  93. Imagination
  94. Goody, Goody
  95. Where or When
  96. Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
  97. Easy to Love
  98. Blue Skies
  99. Body and Soul
  100. Oh! Lady Be Good