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Today in History: Ella Fitzgerald is Born (1917)

With a three-octave vocal range and some sassy scat singing skills, American musician Ella Fitzgerald's voice is truly one-of-a-kind. We honor the First Lady of Song and Queen of Jazz with these beautiful black and white photographs and her soulful rendition of "Summertime."

On what would have been her 96th birthday, Mirror presents 10 facts about Queen of Jazz Ella Fitzgerald and we remember her contributions to the entertainment industry with these illustrious monochrome photographs.

1. Ella Fitzgerald was born on 25 April 1917 in Newport News, Virginia

2. Her first stage performance was at Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre, Virginia, in 1934. She sang Hoagy Carmichael’s "Judy”, one of her mother’s favourite songs

3. This was followed by her first recording in 1935, with Chick Webb called Love and Kisses

4. Fitzgerald shot to fame at the age of 21 after recording a playful version of the nursery rhyme "A-Tisket, A-Tasket”. The album sold 1 million copies, hit number one and stayed in the charts for 17 weeks

5. Dubbed “The First Lady of Song” she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums

Summertime by Ella Fitzgerald

6. Ella worked as a runner for local gamblers, picking up their bets and dropping off money, in order to help support her mother and step father when she was younger

7. While in Dallas, Texas, touring for the Jazz at the Philharmonic tour, Fitzgerald faced discrimination. Police barged backstage and arrested the whole band

8. By the 90s, Ella had recorded over 200 albums. She gave her last concert in 1991 at New York’s famous Carnegie Hall, the 26th time she had performed there

9. Ella suffered several health problems. In 1986, she underwent a quintuple coronary bypass and was diagnosed with diabetes. She stayed strong and powered through her intense performance schedule. But the effects of the illness worsened over the next few years

10. On June 15, 1996, Ella Fitzgerald died in her Beverly Hills home

written by denisesanjose

1 comment

  1. bsdunek

    bsdunek

    She was a great lady of song - one of the greatest. I saw her last about 1988. She had lost her sight due to diebetes, and had to be led on and off the stage. Still, she really gave all that night, just singing up a storm.

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