Ella Fitzgerald was one of the greatest singers who ever lived. She sang the popular songs of her time, she sang Jazz and Pop and Rock-and-Roll and Blues and Gospel and songs just for kids.
Her fans loved her so much they called her “The First Lady of Song”. For over fifty years, Ella traveled the world, singing to millions of people live on stage, on the radio, on TV, and in the movies.
Painting courtesy of: Sharon Maguire the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation Education Consultant and Foundation artist
Ella was born in Newport News, Virginia on April 25, 1917. Her parents’ names were William and Tempie. She had one younger half-sister named Frances. Ella grew up in Yonkers, New York, then in Harlem (part of New York City.) In 1957, she moved to Los Angeles, and after that, to Beverly Hills, (a beautiful part of L.A.), to a Spanish-style house on Whittier Drive (you can drive by if you’re ever out in L.A.)
For a time, Ella was married to Jazz bass player, Ray Brown. Together, they had a son, Raymond Brown, Jr. Ray Jr., like his famous Mom, is a singer. (You can find out more about both Rays on Facebook or Wikipedia or at your local library)
Ella’s long career began at the Apollo Theater in Harlem when she won the Amateur Night contest in 1934. If you are in New York City, you can visit the Apollo – they give great tours – and you can stand on that famous stage. It’s fun! Plus, there is a terrific picture of Ella in the lobby.
Ella won so many important awards during her lifetime – 13 Grammy Awards, countless Downbeat Jazz Awards, the Kennedy Center Honors, and both the National Medal of the Arts AND the National Medal of Freedom.
Miss Fitzgerald died at her Beverly Hills home from complications of Diabetes on June 15, 1996. (so please take good care of your health).
Check Amazon.com and you’ll be surprised what you see if you type in “Ella Fitzgerald”!
You can still purchase Ella’s music which sounds even better today because the recordings have been digitally remastered. Your local library may even have recordings you can borrow. How about emailing us and telling us which of Ella’s songs you enjoy? And you can email us with any questions you have.PLEASE REMEMBER TO ALWAYS GET YOUR MUSIC LEGALLY.
Don’t forget to visit Ella’s official Facebook Fan Page which is full of great pictures and memories. www.facebook.com/ellafitzgerald
Would you like to learn more about Ella? Here are some great books, we hope your library has them.