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Biography of Jass Singer Ella Fitzgerald

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Ella Fitzgerald is consederd to be one of the most popular jass singers in the history. Having started working with Chick Webb Orchestra she managed to impress the World audience with her unusual talents. Fitzgerald was a very famous vocalist due to such singing style as “scat”. The most powerful people of show business always respected Ella and called her ”First Lady of Song. ” Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald was born in 1917 in Newport News, Virginia. It is known that Ella’s parents divorced after her birth and she moved with her mother to Yonkers, New York.

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Later, the mother was killed and Ella stayed to live with her stepfather (Iger, 1998, p. 118). Ella was a bad pupil and always faced a lot of difficulties studying in school. Her grades left much to be desired and having escaped from a reform school, the child started going out on her own (Iger, 1998, p. 120). There are a lot of rumors about the early childhood of Ella Fitzgerald.

According to one of them Ella often ran way from her abusive stepfather and earned her first money singing and dancing on the sidewalks of Harlem.

Also, she helped prostitutes telling them when the police were coming. It should be pointed out Ella was a very strong person and never gave up. Despite all problems and difficulties she survived and managed to find her happiness in the end. Being a child, Ella liked singing and dancing. She won a contest at the Apollo Theater in 1934. Having demonstrated vocal talents, she made a goon impression on Benny Carter, a saxophonist who was in the audience at that moment.

He realized Ella would become a great singer in the future and decided to help the young singer develop her vocal talents (Iger, 1998, p. 120). In 1935 Fitzgerald participated in another contest, which took place at the Harlem Opera House, where Bardou Ali, the showman of Chick Webb’s band, heard one of her performances (Iger, 1998, p. 120). He introduced the young star to Webb and proposed him to hire Ella to the tour with them. Webb hesitated to replace his older vocalist with a young singer first.

However, having heard her audition, both Webb and his manager took decision to do it. He loved Ella, like her own daughter and adopted her later. Ella became the shining star of Webb’s orchestra, and working with the the group she recorded many songs, the most popular of which became ”A-Tisket, A-Tasket,”. It became the most successful record, which was at the top of the Hit Parade for the whole year and brought a huge popularity both to Ella and Chick’s group. Webb died in 1939 and Ella Fitzgerald became the leader of his orchestra.

For that reason the orchestra was renamed ”Ella Fitzgerald’s Orchestra” and ”Ella Fitzgerald and Her Famous Band” later (Iger, 1998, p. 120). During the 1940-1960 she toured with various bands and with the combo of her second husband, Ray Brown (Iger, 1998, p. 120). Ella was very popular throughout all her career and continued to record regularly till the end of 1960s. She often participated in various TV shows and the list of her television appearances includes the following: Frank Sinatra specials, a Timex special, two shows of her own for the BBC, and the Carol Burnett Show.

She also appeared in such films as Pete Kelly’s Blues, St. Louis Blues, and Let No Man Write My Epitaph (Iger, 1998, p. 120). Ella Fitzgerald had a lot of fans all over the World. The list of Ella’s fans inluded such famous persons as Tony Bennett, John Edwards Hasse, Mel Torme, Duke Ellington, Melissa Manchester, Ira Gershwin and even Marilyn Monroe was her fan too. All those people admired Ella Fitzgerald and her vocal tallents. It is impossible to count the wins and awards of Ella Fitzgerald.

Esquire Gold and Silver Awards in 1946 and 1947, first place in the Down Beat’s Critics’ Poll, the first place in Playboy’s poll for 13 years, U. S. National Medal in 1987, the French Commandeur Des Arts et Lettres in 1990, 13 Grammy awards. In general, she beat all records in the history of awards (Iger, 1998, p. 121). There is no doubt, Ella’s health problems had a negative impact on her professional careeer, however she didn’t want those problems to make her slow down and despite difficult conditions continued to perform.

In 1986 Ella Fitzgerald had heart surgery and was diagnosed with diabetes, however the perfection of her voice didn’t fail. A lot of her fans of different age still came to see her. In the early 1900-s she had her legs amputated. Ella Fitzgerald died in 1996 (Iger, 1998, p. 121).


Iger, A. L. (1998). Music of the Golden Age, 1900-1950 and beyond: A Guide to Popular Composers and Lyricists. Westport: Greenwood Press.

Cite this Biography of Jass Singer Ella Fitzgerald

Biography of Jass Singer Ella Fitzgerald. (2017, Mar 05). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/ella-fitzgerald/

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