Ella Fitzgerald Essay

Ella FitzgeraldSinger. Born April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia. (Though many biographical sources give her birth date as 1918, her birth certificate and school records show her to have been born a year earlier.) Often referred to as the “first lady of song,” Fitzgerald enjoyed a career that stretched over six decades. With her lucid intonation and a range of three octaves, she became the preeminent jazz singer of her generation, recording over 2,000 songs, selling over 40 million albums, and winning 13 Grammy Awards, including one in 1967 for Lifetime Achievement.As a young girl growing up in Yonkers, just outside New York City, Fitzgerald loved music and dreamed of being a dancer. She and a friend, Charles Gulliver, performed a dance routine at the local clubs. Fitzgerald also had an early interest in singing, and was greatly influenced by Connee Boswell, the lead singer of a jazz-influenced combo called the Boswell Sisters.In 1932, Fitzgerald’s mother died suddenly, and she went to live with an aunt in Harlem. Fitzgerald was “discovered” two years later, in an amateur contest at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, where she won first prize for her rendition of a Boswell song, “The Object of My Affection.” She performed at the Harlem Opera House in 1935 before landing a job as the featured vocalist in one of the era’s top “big bands.” She made her first recording, “Love and Kisses,” later that year with the band’s leader, Chick Webb, on his record label, Decca. A swing version of the classic nursery rhyme, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” that Fitzgerald co-wrote with Webb and released in 1938, became her first hit recording and made her a national star.When Webb, who had been her legal guardian, mentor, and close friend, di…

…s with the guitarist Joe Pass. In 1974, she played a wildly profitable two-week concert engagement in New York, with fellow legends Frank Sinatra and Count Basie.Starting in the early 1970s, Fitzgerald began to suffer from eyesight problems and other ailments, complicated by diabetes. She continued to tour nationally and internationally, however, and kept up her hectic touring schedule well into the 1980s. In 1986, Fitzgerald was hospitalized for exhaustion, and later underwent a quintuple coronary bypass. By 1990, she had cut back her appearances to a few per month. In 1993, both of her legs were amputated below the knees due to circulatory system complications from her diabetes.The famously private Fitzgerald lived in Beverly Hills for many years. On June 15, 1996, she died at home at the age of 79, survived by her son, Ray Brown, Jr., and one grandchild.

You Might Also Like