It’s the birthday of the “First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald, born in Newport News, Virginia in 1917. She loved to sing and dance as a child and when she was 16 she entered a contest at the Apollo Theater. She had a dance routine worked out and walked on stage wearing ragged clothes and men’s boots, but she froze up. Later she said, “I got out there and I saw all the people and I just lost my nerve. And the man said, ‘well, you’re out here, do something!’ So I tried to sing.” She won the contest and soon became a celebrity across all of New York. She joined Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington as the only performers who could draw audiences at the Apollo from south of 125th Street.
Ella Fitzgerald said, “The only thing better than singing is more singing.”