Ella Fitzgerald

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About Ella Fitzgerald

Legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald’s career began when she won Amateur Night at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater at age 17. ∙ Fitzgerald made her professional singing debut at the Harlem Opera House in 1935 with Tiny Bradshaw’s Band—a week-long engagement that led to a full-time gig with Chick Webb and His Orchestra. ∙ “A-Tisket a Tasket,” her 1938 breakthrough hit with Chick Webb and His Orchestra, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1986. ∙ Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook was the first album ever released by the legendary jazz label Verve Records, founded by her manager as a vehicle for her work. ∙ In 1959, she became the first Black artist to win a Grammy Award, receiving Best Jazz Performance, Individual, honors for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook. ∙ Her 1964 recording of “Can’t Buy Me Love” was the first cover of a Beatles hit to reach the UK Top 40. ∙ She received the National Medal of Arts in 1987 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992. ∙ Adele, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, and Björk have all cited Fitzgerald as a major influence.

Newport News, VA, United States
April 25, 1917
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