ALL ABOUT BING CROSBY

Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby (lahir di Tacoma, Washington, Amerika Serikat, 2 Mei 1903 – meninggal 14 Oktober 1977 pada umur 74 tahun) merupakan seorang penyanyi dan aktor berkebangsaan Amerika Serikat yang memenangkan Academy Award. Dia berkarier di dunia film dan musik sejak tahun 1926 hingga akhir hayatnya pada tahun 1977.

MOST POPULAR ENTERTAINER OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

TV Guide‘s first issue of the 21st century proclaimed that the entertainer of the century was Elvis Presley. They bestowed this honor on him because of his success in music and movies. While I sympathize with their need to select someone who would be recognizable to their current readership, I think their duty to accuracy should have made them select another, more worthy entertainer. The fact that the author of the article was a self-proclaimed Elvis fan and has written two books on Elvis’s greatness may have compromised his objectivity. I prefer to look at hard numbers and let them determine the most popular entertainer of the twentieth century.

Using TV Guides’ criteria that the most popular entertainer was the one who had the greatest success in music and movies, I completed the following analysis:

Because Billboard magazine lists how long a song is on the top 40 charts and how high it went on the charts, it is possible to use this information to draw a trapezoid that represents the song’s success. The base of the trapezoid is the total number of weeks the song stays on the chart. The height is the highest ranking the song achieves and the width of the top is the number of weeks it stays at that position. Calculating the area of this trapezoid gives a measure of the song’s total popularity. Adding up the areas for all the songs for a particular artist gives a numerical value for his or her overall success. Calculating this number for a number of popular artists and comparing them to Mr. Presley show that he really was “The King”… until you compare his numbers to the king of the first half of the century. Consider the following numbers which represent the sums of the popularity-areas for all the artist’s songs. In other words, the higher the number, the greater the performer’s popularity.

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ALL ABOUT PEGGY LEE

Peggy Lee (26 Mei 192021 Januari 2002) merupakan seorang penyanyi jazz dan pencipta lagu berkebangsaan Amerika Serikat. Dia bergenre pop dan jazz. Dia dilahirkan di Jamestown, North Dakota. Dia berkarier di dunia musik sejak tahun 1941 hingga 1996.

Peggy Lee plays with the puppets from the first edition of the George Pal movie tom thumb, for which she composed various numbers. Another children’s film for which she famously wrote lyrics (and did the voices of 4 characters) was Walt Disney’s classic Lady And The Tramp. Lee also received an Oscar nomination, as well as awards from critics and movie audiences, for her dramatic role in Jack Webb’s prohibition-era film Pete Kelly’s Blues.

Peggy Lee poses next to a pressing of one of her many hits for Capitol Records. Under contract for 23 years, she ranks as the female artist who was signed to Capitol the longest. During six decades of professional singing, Lee recorded well over one thousand masters and performed frequently in concert, on radio and on television. She also wrote nearly 300 songs, of which dozens were recorded by other artists and a fair number became hits for her. Among her many other honors are 12 Grammy nominations (plus a Lifetime Achievement Award) and an induction in the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.

Peggy Lee sculpts the hands and face of Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer, whom she counted among the men she most admired. (Others: Buddha, Jesus, Einstein … and Cary Grant.) Lee dabbled in various visual arts (most notably, oil painting), published poetry, and even wrote greeting cards. Her business ventures included a music publishing firm and a TV/film production unit.

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ALL ABOUT NINA SIMONE

Eunice Kathleen Waymon atau lebih dikenal dengan nama Nina Simone (21 Februari 193321 April 2003) merupakan seorang penyanyi, pencipta lagu, dan pianis berkebangsaan Amerika Serikat yang memenangkan 15 nominasi Grammy Award. Dia dilahirkan di Carolina Utara. Berkarier di dunia musik dari tahun 1954 hingga 2003.

 

pianist, singer

Dates: February 21, 1933 (*) – April 21, 2003

Also known as: “Priestess of Soul”; birth name: Eunice Kathleen Waymon, Eunice Wayman

Known for:

  • Composed over 500 songs, recorded almost 60 albums
  • First woman to win the Jazz Cultural Award
  • “Woman of the Year” 1966, Jazz at Home Club
  • Female Jazz Singer of the Year, 1967, National Association of Television and Radio Announcers

In 1993, Don Shewey wrote of Nina Simone in the Village Voice, “She’s not a pop singer, she’s a diva, a hopeless eccentric … who has so thoroughly co-mingled her odd talent and brooding temperament that she has turned herself into a force of nature, an exotic creature spied so infrequently that every appearance is legendary.”

Nina Simone was born as Eunice Kathleen Waymon in 1933(*) in Tryon, North Carolina, daughter of John D. Waylon and Mary Kate Waymon, an ordained Methodist minister. The house was filled with music, Nina Simone later recalled, and she learned to play piano early. When her mother took a job as a maid for extra money, the family saw that young Eunice had special musical talent and sponsored classical piano lessons for her. She studied with a Mrs. Miller and then with Muriel Massinovitch.

For her last year of high school, Nina Simone attended Juilliard School of Music, as part of her plan to prepare to attend the Curtis Institute of Music. She took the entrance exam for the Curtis Institute’s classical piano program, but was not accepted. Nina Simone believed that she was good enough for the program, but that she was rejected because she was black.

Her family by that time had moved to Philadelphia, and she began to give piano lessons. When she discovered that one of her students was playing in a bar in Atlantic City — and being paid more than she was from her piano teaching — she decided to try this route herself. Armed with music from many genres — classical, jazz, popular — she began playing piano in 1954 at the Midtown Bar and Grill in Atlantic City. She adopted the name of Nina Simone to avoid her mother’s religious disapproval of playing in a bar. The bar owner demanded soon that she add vocals to her piano playing, and Nina Simone began to draw large audiences of younger people who were fascinated by her eclectic musical repertoire and style. Soon she was playing in better nightclubs, and moved into the Greenwich Village scene.

By 1957, Nina Simone had found an agent, and the next year issued her first album, “Little Girl Blue.” Her first single, “I Loves You Porgy,” was a George Gershwin song from Porgy and Bess that had been a popular number for Billie Holiday. It sold well, and her recording career was launched. Unfortunately, the contract she signed gave away her rights, a mistake she came to bitterly regret. For her next album she signed with Colpix and released “The Amazing Nina Simone.” With this album came more critical interest.

Nina Simone briefly married Don Ross in 1958, and divorced him the next year. She married Andy Stroud in 1960 — a former police detective who became her recording agent — and they had a daughter, Lisa Celeste, in 1961. This daughter, separated from her mother for long periods in her childhood, eventually launched her own career with the stage name of, simply, Simone. Nina Simone and Andy Stroud drifted apart with her career and political interests, and their marriage ended in divorce in 1970.

In the 1960s, Nina Simone was part of the civil rights movement and later the black power movement. Her songs are considered by some as anthems of those movements, and their evolution shows the growing hopelessness that American racial problems would be solved.

Nina Simone wrote “Mississippi Goddam” after the bombing of a Baptist church in Alabama killed four children and after Medgar Evers was assassinated in Mississipppi. This song, often sung in civil rights contexts, was not often played on radio. She introduced this song in performances as a show tune for a show that hadn’t yet been written.

Other Nina Simone songs adopted by the civil rights movement as anthems included “Backlash Blues,” “Old Jim Crow,” “Four Women” and “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.” The latter was composed in honor of her friend Lorraine Hansberry and became an anthem for the growing black power movement with its line, “Say it clear, say it loud, I am black and I am proud!”

With the growing women’s movement, “Four Women” and her cover of Sinatra’s “My Way” became feminist anthems as well.

But just a few years later, Nina Simone’s friends Lorraine Hansberry and Langston Hughes were dead. Black heroes Martin Luther King, jr., and Malcolm X, were assassinated. In the late 1970s, a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service found Nina Simone accused of tax evasion; she lost her home to the IRS.

Nina Simone’s growing bitterness over America’s racism, her disputes with the record companies she called “pirates,” her troubles with the IRS all led to her decision to leave the United States. She first moved to Barbados, and then, with the encouragement of Miriam Makeba and others, moved to Liberia.

A later move to Switzerland for the sake of her daughter’s education was followed by a comeback attempt in London which failed when she put her faith in a sponsor who turned out to be a con man who robbed and beat her and abandoned her. She tried to commit suicide, but when that failed, found her faith in the future renewed. She built her career slowly, moving to Paris in 1978, having small successes.

In 1985, Nina Simone returned to the United States to record and perform, choosing to pursue fame in her native land. She focused on what would be popular, de-emphasizing her political views, and won growing acclaim. Her career soared when a British commercial for Chanel used her 1958 recording of “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” which then became a hit in Europe.

Nina Simone moved back to Europe — first to the Netherlands then to the South of France in 1991. She published her biography, I Put a Spell on You, and continued to record and perform.

There were several run-ins with the law in the 90s in France, as Nina Simone shot a rifle at rowdy neighbors and left the scene of an accident in which two motorcyclists were injured. She paid fines and was put on probation, and was required to seek psychological counseling.

In 1995, she won ownership of 52 of her master recordings in a San Francisco court, and in 94-95 she had what she described as “a very intense love affair” — “it was like a volcano.” In her last years, Nina Simone was sometimes seen in a wheelchair between performances. She died April 21, 2003, in her adopted homeland, France.

In a 1969 interview with Phyl Garland, Nina Simone said:

There’s no other purpose, so far as I’m concerned, for us except to reflect the times, the situations around us and the things we’re able to say through our art, the things that millions of people can’t say. I think that’s the function of an artist and, of course, those of us who are lucky leave a legacy so that when we’re dead, we also live on. That’s people like Billie Holiday and I hope that I will be that lucky, but meanwhile, the function, so far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times, whatever that might be.

Nina Simone is often classified as a jazz singer, but this is what she had to say in 1997 (in an interview with Brantley Bardin):

To most white people, jazz means black and jazz means dirt and that’s not what I play. I play black classical music. That’s why I don’t like the term “jazz,” and Duke Ellington didn’t like it either — it’s a term that’s simply used to identify black people.”

___
(*) Nina Simone’s birth year is given variously as 1933, 1935 and 1938. 1933 seems most credible, as she was a high school senior in 1950-51 when she attended Juilliard.

Nina Simone on this site

Nina Simone on the Net

  • Dr. Nina Simone – official website
  • L’hommage: Nina Simone – unofficial tribute site includes a biography and sponsored links, plus an email list. Warning: plays audio when you load pages.
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ALL ABOUT COUNT BASIE

William “Count” Basie (lahir di (lahir di New Jersey, 21 Agustus 1904 – meninggal 26 April 1984 pada umur 79 tahun) adalah seorang pianis jazz, pencipta lagu, dan pemimpin grup musik Count Basie’s Big Band yang terdiri dari pemain-pemain musik jazz terkenal pada akhir tahun 1930 dan tahun 1940-an. Count Basie belajar musik dengan ibunya sejak usia dini. Count Basie juga mengambil dasar-dasar ragtime awal dari beberapa pianis Harlem dan belajar organ secara informal dengan Fats Waller.

Basie membuat debut profesional sebagai pengiring musik untuk penampilan vaudeville dan menggantikan Katie Crippen dalam penampilan tersebut. Count Basie juga bekerja dengan Juni Clark dan Sonny Greer yang kemudian menjadi drummer Duke Ellington’s. Dia menjadi anggota Page Blue Devils pada tahun 1928 sampai 1929. Termasuk dalam jajaran Blue Devils adalah Shouter blues yang kemudian memainkan peran penting sebagai vokalis pria awal dalam Count Basie’s Big Band.

Setelah Page Blue Devils bubar, Count Basie dan beberapa anggota band lainnya bergabung ke dalam band Moten Bennie. Dia tetap dengan Moten Bennie sampai kematian band tersebut pada tahun 1935. Setelah kematian band MOten Bennie, band tersebut diteruskan dibawah kepemimpinan sauadar laki-laki Buster Bennie. Basie memulai dengan grupnya sendiri dan segera tampil konsisten di Reno klub di Kansas, dan mempekerjakan beberapa personel terbaik dari band Moten yang terdahulu.

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ALL ABOUT JONI MITCHELL

Joni Mitchell

Birth Name Roberta Joan Anderson
Mini Biography

Joni Mitchell is one of the most highly regarded and influential songwriters of the 20th century. Her melodious tunes support her poetic and often very personal lyrics to make her one of the most authentic artists of her time. As a performer she is widely hailed for her unique style of playing guitar. Mitchell’s unflinching struggle for her own artistic independence has made her a role model for many other musicians, and somewhat of a bane to music industry executives. She is critical of the industry and of the shallowness that she sees in much of today’s popular music. Mitchell is also a noted painter and has created the beautiful artwork that appears on the packaging of her music albums.

Joni Mitchell first became famous for penning “Both Sides Now”, a song that helped launched the career of pop/folk singer Judy Collins. When Mitchell began as a songwriter many of her lyrics displayed a wisdom that was precocious for someone who was in her early twenties. Mitchell was first noticed as a performer in New York City’s music scene. Her first album appeared in 1968, which featured her voice and her acoustic guitar with virtually no other accompaniment on most songs.

She became romantically involved with David Crosby and later Graham Nash, both of the majorly successful West Coast rock group Crosy, Stills and Nash. Mitchell literally wrote the theme song for the historic mega-concert Woodstock. Arguably her most popular song from this era may be “Big Yellow Taxi” with its well-known lyrics: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”.

Mitchell’s music was originally considered to be folk, but after her initial success she began to grow in a jazz direction. Her collaboration with saxophonist and band leader Tom Scott produced the album “Court and Spark”, one of the most popular and influential albums of all time. As her music style veered increasingly towards jazz, Mitchell sadly observed that her pop/folk fans did not follow her to the new musical place she was going to. The sales of her later albums declined. Nonetheless her work was still followed by many within the music industry.

Mitchell worked closely with jazz great Charles Mingus on his last project. She did several albums with jazz bass player Jaco Pastorius, and several more with her second husband, musician and sound engineer Larry Klein. The most popular songs in her career include Big Yellow Taxi, Both Sides Now, Help Me, River, and A Case of You. Her most popular albums include Court and Spark, Hejira, Turbulent Indigo, and Blue.

Joni Mitchell’s influence on other musicians has been so broad that it is difficult to summarize. She has been a notable influence on Prince, Elvis Costello, George Michael, Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Morissey, Seal, Beck, Cassandra Wilson, Diana Krall and a great many of other women songwriters that are too numerous to mention. Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” is an homage to Mitchell. Mitchell’s songs have been covered by the likes of Bob Dylan, Mandy Moore, Minnie Riperton, Frank Sinatra, the Counting Crows, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, Tori Amos, the Spin Doctors, Nazareth, the Indigo Girls, and many more.

Mitchell’s music made an appearance in the movie _Love Actually_ (2003) . In this mostly comedic film, actress Emma Thompson‘s character is a fan of Joni Mitchell’s music. At one point in the movie, Thompson’s character discovers that she has been betrayed by her husband for a much younger woman. She puts on a brave face for the kids, but her moment of private, painful revelation is shown on screen accompanied by an audio track that is silent except for an overdub of Joni Mitchell singing “Both Sides Now”, not the original upbeat recording from the 1960s when Mitchell was a 23-year-old ingénue, but rather the recent re-recording, a somber sentimental performance by the now husky-voiced middle-aged Mitchell, backed by a lush orchestra — a performance akin to an older, wiser Frank Sinatra singing the retrospective “It Was A Very Good Year” when he was sixty. This poignant scene is the dramatic pinnacle of the film.

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ALL ABOUT BILLIE HOLIDAY

Billie Holiday

BIOGRAPHY

Billie Holiday was the daughter of Clarence Holiday. Her early life is obscure, as the account given in her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, is self-serving and inaccurate. Her father abandoned the family early and refused to acknowledge his daughter until after her first success. At some point in her childhood, her mother moved to New York, leaving her in the care of her relatives who, according to Holiday, mistreated her. She did menial work, had little schooling, and in 1928 went to New York to join her mother.

According to her own story, she was recruited for a brothel and was eventually jailed briefly for prostitution. At some point after 1930, she began singing at a small club in Brooklyn, and in a year or so moved to Pods’ and Jerry’s, a Harlem club well known to jazz enthusiasts. In 1933, she was working in another Harlem club, Monette’s, where she was discovered by the producer and talent scout John Hammond. Hammond immediately arranged three recording sessions for her with Benny Goodman and found engagements for her in New York clubs. In 1935, he began recording her regularly, usually under the direction of Teddy Wilson, with studio bands that included many of the finest jazz musicians of the day. These recordings, made between 1935 and 1942, constitute a major body of jazz music; many include work by Lester Young, with whom Holiday had particular empathy. Though aimed mainly at the black jukebox audience, the recordings caught the attention of musicians throughout America and soon other singers were working in Holiday’s light, rhythmic manner.

Considered by many to be the greatest jazz vocalist of all time, Billie Holiday lived a tempestuous and difficult life. Her singing expressed an incredible depth of emotion that spoke of hard times and injustice as well as triumph. Though her career was relatively short and often erratic, she left behind a body of work as great as any vocalist before or since.

Born Eleanora Fagan in 1915, Billie Holiday spent much of her young life in Baltimore, Maryland. Raised primarily by her mother, Holiday had only a tenuous connection with her father, who was a jazz guitarist in Fletcher Henderson’s band. Living in extreme poverty, Holiday dropped out of school in the fifth grade and found a job running errands in a brothel. When she was twelve, Holiday moved with her mother to Harlem, where she was eventually arrested for prostitution.

Desperate for money, Holiday looked for work as a dancer at a Harlem speakeasy. When there wasn’t an opening for a dancer, she auditioned as a singer. Long interested in both jazz and blues, Holiday wowed the owner and found herself singing at the popular Pod and Jerry’s Log Cabin. This led to a number of other jobs in Harlem jazz clubs, and by 1933 she had her first major breakthrough. She was only twenty when the well-connected jazz writer and producer John Hammond heard her fill in for a better-known performer. Soon after, he reported that she was the greatest singer he had ever heard. Her bluesy vocal style brought a slow and rough quality to the jazz standards that were often upbeat and light. This combination made for poignant and distinctive renditions of songs that were already standards. By slowing the tone with emotive vocals that reset the timing and rhythm, she added a new dimension to jazz singing.

With Hammond’s support, Holiday spent much of the 1930s working with a range of great jazz musicians, including Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Duke Ellington, Ben Webster, and most importantly, the saxophonist Lester Young. Together, Young and Holiday would create some of the greatest jazz recordings of all time. They were close friends throughout their lives—giving each other their now-famous nicknames of “Lady Day” and the “Prez.” Sympathetic to Holiday’s unique style, Young helped her create music that would best highlight her unconventional talents. With songs like “This Year’s Kisses” and “Mean To Me,” the two composed a perfect collaboration.

It was not, however, until 1939, with her song “Strange Fruit,” that Holiday found her real audience. A deeply powerful song about lynching, “Strange Fruit” was a revelation in its disturbing and emotional condemnation of racism. Holiday’s voice could be both quiet and strong at the same time. Songs such as “God Bless the Child” and “Gloomy Sunday” expressed not only her undeniable talent, but her incredible pain as well. Due to constant racial attacks, Holiday had a difficult time touring and spent much of the 1940s working in New York. While her popularity was growing, Holiday’s personal life remained troubled. Though one of the highest paid performers of the time, much of her income went to pay for her serious drug addictions. Though plagued by health problems, bad relationships, and addiction, Holiday remained an unequaled performer.

By the late 1940s, after the death of her mother, Holiday’s heroin addiction became so bad she was repeatedly arrested— eventually checking herself into an institution in the hopes of breaking her habit. By 1950, the authorities denied her a license to perform in establishments selling alcohol. Though she continued to record and perform afterward, this marked the major turning point in her career. For the next seven years, Holiday would slip deeper into alcoholism and begin to lose control of her once perfect voice. In 1959, after the death of her good friend Lester Young and with almost nothing to her name, Billie Holiday died at the age of forty-four. During her lifetime she had fought racism and sexism, and in the face of great personal difficulties triumphed through a deep artistic spirit. It is a tragedy that only after her death could a society, who had so often held her down, realize that in her voice could be heard the true voice of the times.

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ALL ABOUT ELLA FITZGERALD

Ella Fitzgerald

Biography

Dubbed “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. In her lifetime, she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums.

Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could sing sultry ballads, sweet jazz and imitate every instrument in an orchestra. She worked with all the jazz greats, from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole, to Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman. (Or rather, some might say all the jazz greats had the pleasure of working with Ella.)

She performed at top venues all over the world, and packed them to the hilt. Her audiences were as diverse as her vocal range. They were rich and poor, made up of all races, all religions and all nationalities. In fact, many of them had just one binding factor in common – they all loved her.

Humble but happy beginnings

Ella Jane Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Va. on April 25, 1917. Her father, William, and mother, Temperance (Tempie), parted ways shortly after her birth. Together, Tempie and Ella went to Yonkers, N.Y, where they eventually moved in with Tempie’s longtime boyfriend Joseph Da Silva. Ella’s half-sister, Frances, was born in 1923 and soon she began referring to Joe as her stepfather.

To support the family, Joe dug ditches and was a part-time chauffeur, while Tempie worked at a laundromat and did some catering. Occasionally, Ella took on small jobs to contribute money as well. Perhaps naïve to the circumstances, Ella worked as a runner for local gamblers, picking up their bets and dropping off money.

Their apartment was in a mixed neighborhood, where Ella made friends easily. She considered herself more of a tomboy, and often joined in the neighborhood games of baseball. Sports aside, she enjoyed dancing and singing with her friends, and some evenings they would take the train into Harlem and watch various acts at the Apollo Theater.

Jazzing things up

In mid 1936, Ella made her first recording. “Love and Kisses” was released under the Decca label, with moderate success. By this time she was performing with Chick’s band at the prestigious Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom, often referred to as “The World’s Most Famous Ballroom.”

Shortly afterward, Ella began singing a rendition of the song, “(If You Can’t Sing It) You Have to Swing It.” During this time, the era of big swing bands was shifting, and the focus was turning more toward bebop. Ella played with the new style, often using her voice to take on the role of another horn in the band. “You Have to Swing It” was one of the first times she began experimenting with scat singing, and her improvisation and vocalization thrilled fans. Throughout her career, Ella would master scat singing, turning it into a form of art.

In 1938, at the age of 21, Ella recorded a playful version of the nursery rhyme, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.” The album sold 1 million copies, hit number one, and stayed on the pop charts for 17 weeks. Suddenly, Ella Fitzgerald was famous.

Coming into her own

On June 16, 1939, Ella mourned the loss of her mentor Chick Webb. In his absence the band was renamed “Ella Fitzgerald and Her Famous Band,” and she took on the overwhelming task of bandleader.

Perhaps in search of stability and protection, Ella married Benny Kornegay, a local dockworker who had been pursuing her. Upon learning that Kornegay had a criminal history, Ella realized that the relationship was a mistake and had the marriage annulled.

While on tour with Dizzy Gillespie’s band in 1946, Ella fell in love with bassist Ray Brown. The two were married and eventually adopted a son, whom they named Ray, Jr.

At the time, Ray was working for producer and manager Norman Granz on the “Jazz at the Philharmonic” tour. Norman saw that Ella had what it took to be an international star, and he convinced Ella to sign with him. It was the beginning of a lifelong business relationship and friendship.

Under Norman’s management, Ella joined the Philharmonic tour, worked with Louis Armstrong on several albums and began producing her infamous songbook series. From 1956-1964, she recorded covers of other musicians’ albums, including those by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, the Gershwins, Johnny Mercer, Irving Berlin, and Rodgers and Hart. The series was wildly popular, both with Ella’s fans and the artists she covered.

“I never knew how good our songs were until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them,” Ira Gershwin once remarked.

Ella also began appearing on television variety shows. She quickly became a favorite and frequent guest on numerous programs, including “The Bing Crosby Show,” “The Dinah Shore Show,” “The Frank Sinatra Show,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Tonight Show,” “The Nat King Cole Show,” “The Andy Willams Show” and “The Dean Martin Show.”

Due to a busy touring schedule, Ella and Ray were often away from home, straining the bond with their son. Ultimately, Ray Jr. and Ella reconnected and mended their relationship.

“All I can say is that she gave to me as much as she could,” Ray, Jr. later said, “and she loved me as much as she could.”

Unfortunately, busy work schedules also hurt Ray and Ella’s marriage. The two divorced in 1952, but remained good friends for the rest of their lives.

Worldwide recognition

Ella continued to work as hard as she had early on in her career, despite the ill effects on her health. She toured all over the world, sometimes performing two shows a day in cities hundreds of miles apart. In 1974, Ella spent a legendary two weeks performing in New York with Frank Sinatra and Count Basie. Still going strong five years later, she was inducted into the Down Beat magazine Hall of Fame, and received Kennedy Center Honors for her continuing contributions to the arts.

Outside of the arts, Ella had a deep concern for child welfare. Though this aspect of her life was rarely publicized, she frequently made generous donations to organizations for disadvantaged youths, and the continuation of these contributions was part of the driving force that prevented her from slowing down. Additionally, when Frances died, Ella felt she had the additional responsibilities of taking care of her sister’s family.

In 1987, United States President Ronald Reagan awarded Ella the National Medal of Arts. It was one of her most prized moments. France followed suit several years later, presenting her with their Commander of Arts and Letters award, while Yale, Dartmouth and several other universities bestowed Ella with honorary doctorates.

End of an era

In September of 1986, Ella underwent quintuple coronary bypass surgery. Doctors also replaced a valve in her heart and diagnosed her with diabetes, which they blamed for her failing eyesight. The press carried rumors that she would never be able to sing again, but Ella proved them wrong. Despite protests by family and friends, including Norman, Ella returned to the stage and pushed on with an exhaustive schedule.

By the 1990s, Ella had recorded over 200 albums. In 1991, she gave her final concert at New York’s renowned Carnegie Hall. It was the 26th time she performed there.

As the effects from her diabetes worsened, 76-year-old Ella experienced severe circulatory problems and was forced to have both of her legs amputated below the knees. She never fully recovered from the surgery, and afterward, was rarely able to perform. During this time, Ella enjoyed sitting outside in her backyard, and spending time with Ray, Jr. and her granddaughter Alice.

“I just want to smell the air, listen to the birds and hear Alice laugh,” she said.

On June 15, 1996, Ella Fitzgerald died in her Beverly Hills home. Hours later, signs of remembrance began to appear all over the world. A wreath of white flowers stood next to her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a marquee outside the Hollywood Bowl theater read, “Ella, we will miss you.”

After a private memorial service, traffic on the freeway was stopped to let her funeral procession pass through. She was laid to rest in the “Sanctuary of the Bells” section of the Sunset Mission Mausoleum at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, Calif.

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ALL ABOUT EVA CASSIDY

Eva Cassidy

Eva Cassidy (lahir di Oxon Hill, Maryland, Amerika Serikat, 2 Februari 1963 – meninggal di Bowie, Maryland, Amerika Serikat, 2 November 1996 pada umur 33 tahun) adalah seorang penyanyi Amerika Serikat. Eva merupakan anak ketiga dari Hugh Cassidy dan Barbara Cassidy. Ia bermain gitar semenjak umur 9 tahun.

Ayahnya Hugh Cassidy adalah keturunan berdarah Irlandia, sedangkan Ibunya Barbara Cassidy seorang Ibu keturunan Jerman. Keduanya bertemu Tahun 1960 di Jerman. Eva Cassidy adalah anak ketiga dari empat bersaudara. Di antaranya Annete Cassidy (Hasil hubungan Pertama dari Barbara Cassidy, yang dimana akhirnya diangkat sebagai anak oleh Hugh Cassidy. Margret Cassidy Anak pertama dari Hugh Cassidy dan Putri kedua dari Barbara Cassidy. Eva Cassidy dan yang terakhir Daniel Cassidy.

Sewaktu kecil Eva pernah hampir meninggal dunia akibat tersangkut dan jatuh dari tempat tidurnya, orang tuanya Barbara sangat khawatir, karena waktu itu dia sudah tidak bernapas dan berwajah biru. Untungnya orang tuanya sempat memberikan napas buatan padanya.

Eva merilis beberapa album live dan studio. Album pertama yang dirilisnya adalah The Other Side yang berkerja sama dengan penyanyi R&B Go-go, Chuck Brown. Chuck Brown merasa beruntung dapat bekerja sama dengan Eva, karena karier awal dari Chuck Brown, berawal disini.

Eva juga bermain musik bersama adiknya, Dan Cassidy. Semenjak SMA, dia pernah membentuk sebuah band yang bernama Stonehenge, dan berganti nama menjadi Eva Cassidy Band pada tahun 1988. Disana Eva bermain di kafe-kafe. Suatu hari Eva bertemu dengan seseorang produser musik asal Maryland yang bernama Chris Biondo, pertama kalu mendengar suara Eva, Chris Biondo berpikir bahwa dia adalah seorang penyanyi kulit hitam, tetapi ternyata Eva ada penyanyi kulit putih berambut pirang, dan bermata biru. Disinilah awal karier Eva dimulai.

Selain menyanyi dia juga berbakat dalam mengambar seni dalam perpaduan warna, dia juga dapat mengerjakan hal-hal seperti membuat pernak-pernik buatan tangan. Sekarang ini karya Eva dilanjutkan oleh kakak perempuannya sendiri yang bernama Margret Cassidy Robinson.

Tahun 1996, Eva di diagnosis menderita penyakit kanker. Ia menjalani kemoterapi, tetapi komplikasi terjadi hingga ke tulang pahanya, menyebabkan dia lumpuh. Pada penampilan terakhirnya pada bulan September 1996, dia menyanyikan lagu What a Wonderful World.

Eva Cassidy meninggal dunia pada tanggal 2 November 1996, dan dikremasikan di Bowie, Maryland. Abunya di sebar pada Danau Favoritnya di Maryland.

Terkenal setelah meninggal

Di Amerika Serikat sendiri Eva Cassidy kurang terkenal seperti di Inggris. Pertama kali musik Eva Cassidy dimainkan di Radio BBC Inggris. Terry Wogan, sang penyiar sering memainkan lagu Eva Cassidy yang berjudul Somewhere Over The Rainbow, begitu banyak orang Inggris menyukai album Eva Cassidy yang bertajuk Songbird, Gabungan dari ketiga albumnya Eva by Heart, Live at Blues Alley, dan The Other Side mereka menilai suaranya yang halus seperti malaikat.

Album Songbird laku di Inggris hingga mencapai satu juta kopi, dan album selanjutnya menyusul adalah Time After Time hingga sampai pada puncak no.1 tangga lagu Inggris pada tahun 2000.

Dan pada tahun tersebut terbitlah biografi tentang Eva Cassidy di buat dalam bentuk buku, yang berjudul Songbird. Pada tahun 2003, buku tersebut terbit juga di Amerika Serikat, dan mulailah di buat salah satu acara oleh ABC Nightline di Amerika tentang Eva Cassidy.

Pada Natal 2006 penyayi asal Georgia yang bernama Katie Melua bernyanyi duet dengan Eva Cassidy, yang berjudul Duet Impossible. Walaupun hanya berduet dalam tape, Katie Melua tetap terlihat menghayati lagu Over The Rainbow, Karena di ketahui bahwa Inspirasi dari Katie Melua sendiri adalah Eva Cassidy.

Pada Natal 2007 Katie Melua kembali merekam lagu lagu dari penyanyi lawas “Louis Amstrong” yang bertajuk What a Wonderful World bersama dengan Eva Cassidy, Lagu ini mencapai puncak tangga lagu no. 1 di Inggris pada bulan Desember 2007.

Di Indonesia sendiri masih sedikit orang yang mengetahui sosok Eva Cassidy, beberapa orang mengaku mengetahui Eva Cassidy dari dari beberapa soundtrack film, Film yang menggunakan lagu Eva Cassidy antara lain : Maid in Manhattan (Kathy’s Song), Love Actually (Songbird), Alpha Dog (Over The Rainbow), Smallville Tv Series (Time After Time).

Album yang dirilis setelah kematiannya

  1. The Other Side (1992)
  2. Live at Blues Alley (1996)
  3. Eva by Heart (1997)
  4. Time After Time (2000)
  5. Songbird (2000)
  6. Method Actor (2000)
  7. Imagine (2001)
  8. No Boundaries (2002)
  9. American Tune (2003)
  10. Wonderful World (2004)
  11. Christmas Album – Chuck Brown Album
  12. Somewhere (2008)
  13. Silent Night (2010) – Christmas Single
  14. Simply Eva (2011)

Album somewhere telah dirilis tanggal 26 agustus 2008, Pada Natal 2010 Blixstreet merislis lagu Eva Cassidy yang berjudul “Silent Night”, Ini merupakan versi terlembut dari lagu Silent Night, Lagu ini dapat di download melalui itunes. 25 January 2011 akan dirilis albumnya yang terbaru yang bertemakan “Simply Eva” berisi Lagu Akustik yang direkam di Pearl’s dan 1 lagu barunya “San Fransisco Bay Blues”.Simply Eva akan menjadi album kedelapan oleh Eva Cassidy, direncanakan akan dirilis pada 25 Januari 2011. Ini adalah koleksi 11 lagu akustik dengan Cassidy dirinya pada gitar dan versi capella dari “I Know you by Heart”. The Blues Alley versi “Over the Rainbow”, yang tidak termasuk dalam album Live at Blues Alley, akan berada di album ini. download digital akan terdapat single Natal “Silent Night” sebagai bonus lagu.

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ALL ABOUT JOSEPHINE BAKER

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker adalah seorang penari dan penghibur dalam dunia seni. Dia termasuk warga AfrikaAmerika yang meraih sukses di Perancis. Josephine Baker terlahir dengan nama Freda Josephine McDonald pada tanggal 3 Juni 1906. Nama Baker berasal dari nama suami keduanya, Willie Baker, yang menikahinya pada usia 15 tahun. Beberapa pertunjuk Ella yang terkenal adalah Jurnal Negro (La Revue Nègre) dan Folies Bergère. Dia meninggal pada 12 April 1975 karena pendarahan otak. Saat Perang Dunia II berlangsung, Baker bekerja dengan Palang Merah dan mengumpulkan intelijen untuk pertahanan Perancis[2]. Selain itu, Ella juga menghibur pasukan Afrika dan Timur Tengah. Semasa hidupnya, Ella mendukung kesetaraan ras dan untuk itu, dia menolak tampil di bar yang tidak mendukung tindakan tersebut.

 
Josephine Baker sashayed onto a Paris stage during the 1920s with a comic, yet sensual appeal that took Europe by storm. Famous for barely-there dresses and no-holds-barred dance routines, her exotic beauty generated nicknames “Black Venus,” “Black Pearl” and “Creole Goddess.” Admirers bestowed a plethora of gifts, including diamonds and cars, and she received approximately 1,500 marriage proposals. She maintained energetic performances and a celebrity status for 50 years until her death in 1975. Unfortunately, racism prevented her talents from being wholly accepted in the United States until 1973.

Humble beginnings

She was born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 3, 1906 to washerwoman Carrie McDonald and vaudeville drummer Eddie Carson. Eddie abandoned them shortly afterward, and Carrie married a kind but perpetually unemployed man named Arthur Martin. Their family eventually grew to include a son and two more daughters.

Josephine grew up cleaning houses and babysitting for wealthy white families who reminded her “be sure not to kiss the baby.” She got a job waitressing at The Old Chauffeur’s Club when she was 13 years old. While waiting tables she met and had a brief marriage to Willie Wells. While it was unusual for a woman during her era, Josephine never depended on a man for financial support. Therefore, she never hesitated to leave when a relationship soured. She was married and divorced three more times, to American Willie Baker in 1921 (whose last name she chose to keep), Frenchman Jean Lion in 1937 (from whom she attained French citizenship) and French orchestra leader Jo Bouillon in 1947 (who helped to raise her 12 adopted children).

Josephine toured the United States with The Jones Family Band and The Dixie Steppers in 1919, performing various comical skits. When the troupes split, she tried to advance as a chorus girl for The Dixie Steppers in Sissle and Blake’s production Shuffle Along. She was rejected because she was “too skinny and too dark.” Undeterred, she learned the chorus line’s routines while working as a dresser. Thus, Josephine was the obvious replacement when a dancer left. Onstage she rolled her eyes and purposely acted clumsy. The audience loved her comedic touch, and Josephine was a box office draw for the rest of the show’s run.

Parisian sensation

She enjoyed moderate success at The Plantation Club in New York after Shuffle Along. However, when Josephine traveled to Paris for a new venture, La Revue Nègre, it proved to be a turning point in her career. Amongst a compilation of acts, Josephine and dance partner Joe Alex captivated the audience with the Danse Sauvage. Everything about the routine was new and exotic, and Josephine, boldly dressed in nothing but a feather skirt, worked the audience into frenzy with her uninhibited movements. She was an overnight sensation.

Josephine’s immense popularity afforded her a comfortable salary, which she spent mostly on clothes, jewelry and pets. She loved animals, and at one time she owned a leopard (Chiquita), a chimpanzee (Ethel), a pig (Albert), a snake (Kiki), a goat, a parrot, parakeets, fish, three cats and seven dogs.

Her career thrived in the integrated Paris society; when La Revue Nègre closed, Josephine starred in La Folie du Jour at the Follies-Bergère Theater. Her jaw-dropping performance, including a costume of 16 bananas strung into a skirt, cemented her celebrity status. Josephine rivaled Gloria Swanson and Mary Pickford as the most photographed woman in the world, and by 1927 she earned more than any entertainer in Europe. She starred in two movies in the early 1930s, Zou-Zou and Princess Tam-Tam, and moved her family from St. Louis to Les Milandes, her estate in Castelnaud-Fayrac, France.

A 1936 return to the United States to star in the Ziegfield Follies proved disastrous, despite the fact that she was a major celebrity in Europe. American audiences rejected the idea of a black woman with so much sophistication and power, newspaper reviews were equally cruel (The New York Times called her a “Negro wench”), and Josephine returned to Europe heartbroken.

Righting wrongs

Josephine served France during World War II in several ways. She performed for the troops, and was an honorable correspondent for the French Resistance (undercover work included smuggling secret messages written on her music sheets) and a sub-lieutenant in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. She was later awarded the Medal of the Resistance with Rosette and named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government for hard work and dedication.

Josephine visited the United States during the 50s and 60s with renewed vigor to fight racism. When New York’s popular Stork Club refused her service, she engaged a head-on media battle with pro-segregation columnist Walter Winchell. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) named May 20 Josephine Baker Day in honor of her efforts.

It was also during this time that she began adopting children, forming a family she often referred to as “The Rainbow Tribe.” Josephine wanted her to prove that “children of different ethnicities and religions could still be brothers.” She often took the children with her cross-country, and when they were at Les Milandes tours were arranged so visitors could walk the grounds and see how natural and happy the children in “The Rainbow Tribe” were.

Josephine continued to travel to the United States, and during her visits she developed a close friendship with American artist Robert Brady. Now divorced from her fourth husband Jo Bouillon, she was looking for companionship on a more platonic level. Brady felt the same, and on a trip to Acapulco, Mexico in September 1973 they went to an empty church and exchanged marriage vows. Though no clergy was present, and they were never legally joined, it was an important personal bond that she and Brady maintained the rest of her life. Josephine told very few people about the pseudo marriage, fearing the press would ridicule it.

Sad farewells

Josephine agreed to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall that same year. Due to previous experience, she was nervous about how the audience and critics would receive her. This time, however, cultural and racial growth was evident. Josephine received a standing ovation before the concert even began. The enthusiastic welcome was so touching that she wept onstage.

On April 8, 1975 Josephine premiered at the Bobino Theater in Paris. Celebrities such as Princess Grace of Monaco and Sophia Loren were in attendance to see 68-year-old Josephine perform a medley of routines from her 50 year career. The reviews were among her best ever. Days later, however, Josephine slipped into a coma. She died from a cerebral hemorrhage at 5 a.m. on April 12.

More than 20,000 people crowded the streets of Paris to watch the funeral procession on its way to the Church of the Madeleine. The French government honored her with a 21-gun salute, making Josephine Baker the first American woman buried in France with military honors. Her gravesite is in the Cimetiére de Monaco, Monaco.

Josephine Baker has continued to intrigue and inspire people throughout the world. In 1991, HBO released The Josephine Baker Story. The movie won two Emmys, for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries (Lynn Whitfield) and Outstanding Art Direction. The movie also picked up one of three Golden Globe nominations.

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ALL ABOUT ROSEMARY CLOONEY

Rosemary Clooney

Rosemary Clooney (lahir di Maysville, Kentucky, USA, 23 Mei 1928 – meninggal di Beverly Hills, California, 29 Juni 2002 pada umur 74 tahun) merupakan seorang aktris dan penyanyi berkebangsaan Amerika Serikat. Ia mulai terkenal saat menyanyikan lagu utamanya seperti “Botcha-Me,” “Mambo Italiano,” dan “This Ole House”. Dia dilahirkan di Maysville, Kentucky. Dia berkarier di dunia musik sejak tahun 1946 hingga 2001

Biography

by Steve Huey

Before the rock & roll revolution, Rosemary Clooney was one of the most popular female singers in America, rising to superstardom during the golden age of adult pop. Like many of her peers in the so-called “girl singer” movement — Doris Day, Kay Starr, Peggy Lee, Patti Page, et al. — Clooney‘s style was grounded in jazz, particularly big-band swing. She wasn’t an improviser or a technical virtuoso, and lacked the training to stand on an equal footing with the greatest true jazz singers. However, she sang with an effortless, spirited swing, and was everything else a great pop singer of her era should have been. Her phrasing and diction were flawless, and her voice was warm, smooth, and relaxed; moreover, she was a sensitive and emotionally committed interpreter of lyrics. Some of her biggest hits were dialect-filled novelty songs, like her star-making breakthrough “Come On-a My House” from 1951, but she generally preferred to tackle more sophisticated fare, and recorded with numerous duet partners, jazz orchestras, and top-tier arrangers. Changing tastes and various personal problems conspired to stall her career in the ’60s, culminating in a nervous breakdown in 1968. However, she mounted a successful comeback in the late ’70s, and continued to tour and record for Concord Jazz up until her death from lung cancer in 2002.

Clooney was born May 23, 1928, in Maysville, KY. Her childhood was a difficult one; her father was an alcoholic, and her mother’s job required extensive traveling, so Clooney and her siblings were shuffled back and forth between both parents and assorted relatives. When Clooney was 13, her mother remarried and moved to California, taking Clooney‘s brother Nick (later an actor and TV host) and leaving Rosemary and her younger sister Betty in the care of their father. At first, he supported the girls by working in a defense plant, but his troubles got the better of him, and he abandoned them at the end of World War II. At first, Clooney and her sister supported themselves by collecting cans and bottles, and entered amateur talent contests as a singing duo (Rosemary had grown up idolizing Billie Holiday). They were saved from poverty (and likely eviction) when they successfully auditioned for a Cincinnati radio station later in 1945.

Billed as the Clooney Sisters, Rosemary and Betty gave weekly radio performances until they were discovered by bandleader Tony Pastor. By the end of 1945, the girls had joined his orchestra as the featured vocal attraction — which was rapidly becoming a necessity in the postwar era. In 1946, Rosemary cut her first solo record, “I’m Sorry I Didn’t Say I’m Sorry (When I Made You Cry Last Night),” but didn’t begin to work as a solo artist until 1948, when Betty decided to stop touring with Pastor and return to Cincinnati. Clooney stayed with Pastor for another year before heading to New York in 1949 and signing a solo record contract with Columbia.

Most of Clooney‘s earliest records for Columbia were children’s songs, but in 1951 she began working with producer/A&R man Mitch Miller. As he did with many other artists, Miller pushed Clooney to record novelty numbers, specifically an Italian-dialect song called “Come On-a My House” that had been co-written by Armenian-American cousins William Saroyan and Ross Bagdasarian (the latter would go on to fame as creator of the Chipmunks). Clooney hated the song and held out for weeks before finally giving in. Despite her lifelong distaste for it, “Come On-a My House” was a huge success; it sold over a million copies and topped the charts in 1951, instantly making Clooney a household name.

Over the next few years, Clooney alternated between hot big-band swing and the light novelty fare Miller insisted upon, though she much preferred the former. She was wildly popular in the years leading up to rock & roll, scoring hit after hit: the chart-toppers “Half as Much,” “Hey There,” and “This Ole House”; the Italian-style tunes “Botch-a-Me (Ba-Ba-Baciani Piccina)” and “Mambo Italiano”; and several other cornerstones of her repertoire, including “Tenderly” and “If Teardrops Were Pennies.” In addition, she recorded with the likes of Harry James, Marlene Dietrich (including the hit “Too Old to Cut the Mustard”), Gene Autry (“The Night Before Christmas Song”), Guy Mitchell, George Morgan, and actor José Ferrer, whom she married in 1953 after an abrupt courtship.

Paramount Pictures had decided to groom Clooney for movie stardom, and she made her screen debut in 1953’s The Stars Are Singing. She appeared in several more films over the next two years, including Here Come the Girls, Red Garters, and most notably the hugely successful White Christmas, in which she performed the number “Love, You Didn’t Do Right by Me.” However, acting was not to her taste; instead she concentrated on radio and television, co-hosting a morning radio show with Bing Crosby and landing her own TV variety series in 1956, which ran through the next year. In the meantime, she and Ferrer had five children over the remainder of the ’50s, starting with future actor Miguel Ferrer in 1955.

Clooney also continued to record, though with diminishing success thanks to the advent of rock & roll. Still, her repertoire was growing more mature, as she recorded with Duke Ellington (the 1956 album Blue Rose) and Benny Goodman, and also tried her hand at country standards and Broadway show tunes. Her final Top Ten hit was 1957’s “Mangos,” and the following year, she parted ways with Columbia and moved over to RCA, where she debuted with the well-received Bing Crosby collaboration Fancy Meeting You Here. She went on to record for MCA, Reprise, Coral, and Capitol during the ’60s as well.

However, the frantic pace of her career, coupled with her suddenly large family, took a heavy toll on Clooney. She became addicted to prescription drugs in the late ’50s, and her increasingly stormy relationship with Ferrer ended in divorce in 1961. The two would later patch up their differences and remarry, but they divorced again in 1967. Still suffering from drug problems, Clooney‘s increasingly fragile mental state (she was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder) took another major blow in 1968, when good friend Bobby Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel just a short distance away from where Clooney was standing. Performing in Reno, NV, not long afterward, Clooney lost her temper on-stage and suffered a nervous breakdown. In its aftermath, she retired from music, and for a time was institutionalized in the psychiatric ward of L.A.’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

Clooney spent much of the ’70s in intensive therapy, and was forced to deal with another blow when younger sister Betty died suddenly of a brain aneurysm in 1976. However, she was able to start a comeback that year, thanks to an invitation from Bing Crosby to join him on his 50th anniversary tour. The tour put Clooney back in the public eye, and the following year she published a confessional autobiography, This for Remembrance, and signed a new record deal with Concord Jazz. A steady stream of albums — usually one per year, occasionally two — followed all the way through the ’90s; in general, they found Clooney in good voice, singing with energy as well as maturity. Most of her repertoire on those albums drew from the great American standards, often focusing on a particular composer or lyricist in the manner of the Ella Fitzgerald songbook series.

During the ’90s, Clooney enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to the swing revival that revitalized the careers of veterans like Tony Bennett. While she never considered herself a true jazz singer, her ’90s dates sold extremely well among jazz audiences, and her position among the great American pop vocalists was solidified. Additionally, Clooney made several appearances as an Alzheimer’s patient on the TV medical drama ER, which co-starred her nephew George Clooney. In 1997, she remarried to longtime companion Dante DiPaolo, whom she’d originally met prior to her romance with José Ferrer; the two had reconnected in 1973 and spent the next 24 years together before tying the knot. Clooney published a second autobiography, Girl Singer, in 1999, and gave what proved to be her last live performance in December 2001. In January, she underwent surgery for lung cancer, and remained hospitalized for several months; she returned to her home in Beverly Hills, where she passed away on June 29, 2002.

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