Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Jane Fitzgerald ( born April 25, 1917 in Newport News, Virginia; † June 15, 1996 in Beverly Hills, California ) was an American jazz singer.


Ella Fitzgerald grew up in Yonkers in the vicinity of New York and was found as an orphan since she was fourteen years on her own. Her debut as a singer, she was seventeen at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem; the Apollo Theater hosted regular amateur competitions, from which they gained a. Originally they wanted to compete as a dancer in this talent competition; had come as the moment of the performance, but her trembling with excitement as the legs that they instead sang a song. Fitzgerald was then hired in 1935 by Chick Webb in his big band. In 1936, she participated with Love and Kisses on a first plate; In 1938, she had a number one hit: A Tisket A Tasket The cheerful - actually a children's song - she made with Chick Webb star. Another number one hit she succeeded with Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall in 1944. Fitzgerald was able to place B and country charts in both the U.S. pop, as well as in R &.

When Chick Webb died in 1939, she first took the band to perform under the name Ella Fitzgerald and Her Famous Orchestra. Since Ella Fitzgerald but could not read music, it was no good as a bandleader. So she began her solo career in 1941 and became one of the greatest jazz singers. In 1946 she toured with Dizzy Gillespie and performed in the Jazz at the Philharmonic concert series by Norman Granz, who was also involved in the musical film Improvisation ( 1950). After appearing in the film Pete Kelly 's Blues 1955 she went to Verve Records. Her repertoire ranged from swing to bebop, blues, bossa nova, samba, gospel and hip- hop to jazzy Christmas carols. She was often called the First Lady of Song. Her trademark was one of singing, which she co-developed and they helped to world fame: the scat. Characteristic is the youthful charm of her voice and her to this day unsurpassed ease of phrasing, which allowed her to improvise with a remarkable vocal range of three octaves as a jazz instrumentalist.

At Fitzgerald 's recordings include their outstanding Songbooks the most important American composers of the first half of the 20th century, which they thus sat monuments and all subsequent singers were textbooks for the perfect interpretation of the respective songs.

The following is a listing of their classic songbooks for the label Verve and the associated arrangers:

For other record companies later also took on songbooks, among other things, again with songs of the brothers Gershwin and Cole Porter and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Colleagues such as Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington folgtem their example and also participated Songbooks on. Another important recording Fitzgeralds there from Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess, which she recorded with Louis Armstrong. In addition, there are numerous live recordings of concerts of Fitzgerald, showing that there was no difference between a studio or live gig with her. The only qualitative differences in the recording techniques. She won a total of 13 Grammys; In 1987 she was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

She suffered for years from diabetes, which led to blindness towards the end of their lives. Another consequence of the disease was the amputation of both lower leg in 1993. Three years later, she died as one of the most important jazz singers of the 20th century. She lies on the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood buried in Los Angeles.


Fitzgerald married at least twice. Her first marriage, she joined in 1939 - Other sources speak of 1941 - with the dockers Benjamin " Benny " Kornegay, who followed her and her band as a kind of male groupie at every turn. When she learned after a short marriage of criminal entanglements of her husband, she had the marriage annulled. Her second husband was from 1946 to 1952 - other sources in turn call different data, such as from 1947 to 1953 or December 10, 1947 - 1952 - the bassist Ray Brown, with whom she a child, Ray Brown Jr. adopted. 1957 have been reports in the Scandinavian press, she had married the young Norwegian Thor Einar Larsen secretly.

Discography (selection)


Film and Television

Your probably the greatest film appearance was in 1955 in Fitzgerald Jack Webb's jazz film Pete Kelly 's Blues. The supporting cast of the film were occupied with Janet Leigh and singer Peggy Lee. Although previously a small role in a film had (Heroes in the saddle, 1942), she was thrilled about that Norman Granz offered her the role. After Pete Kelly 's Blues, she was only seen in cameo roles. For example, in St. Louis Blues ( 1958) by Nat King Cole or Let No Man Write My Epitaph ( 1960). Considerably later, in the 1980s, she starred in the television drama The White Shadow.

In TV commercials she stepped down on fried chicken and the cassette manufacturer Memorex for Kentucky.



  • The version 2.1 " Ella " the popular blog software WordPress is dedicated to Ella Fitzgerald.
  • The song Ella, elle l'a France Gall ( in 1988 at No. 1 on the German charts ) is a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.
  • Ella Fitzgerald and other famous musicians have been immortalized in the song Back In The Day by Christina Aguilera.
  • Into each life some rain must fall, the Ella Fitzgerald recorded with the Ink Spots, is played by the fictional radio station 'Galaxy News Radio ' in the video game Fallout 3.