Gene Austin was an American singer and songwriter, one of the first crooners. His 1920s compositions When My Sugar Walks Down the Street and The Lonesome Road became pop, Austin was born as Lemeul Eugene Lucas in Gainesville, Texas, to Nova Lucas and the former Serena Belle Harrell. He took the name Gene Austin from his stepfather, Jim Austin, Austin grew up in Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana, located east of Shreveport. In Minden, he learned to play piano and guitar and he ran away from home at 15 and attended a vaudeville act in Houston, where the audience was allowed to come to the stage and sing. On a dare from his friends, Austin took the stage, the audience response was overwhelming, and the vaudeville company immediately offered him a billed spot on their ticket. Austin joined the U. S. Army at the age of 17 in hopes of being dispatched to Europe to fight in World War I and he was first stationed in New Orleans, where he played the piano at night in the citys notorious vice district.
Thereafter, he served in France in World War I, on returning to the United States in 1919, Austin settled in Baltimore, where he intended to study dentistry. Soon, however, he was playing piano and singing in local taverns and he started writing songs and formed a vaudeville act with Roy Bergere, with whom he wrote How Come You Do Me Like You Do. The act ended when Bergere married, Austin worked briefly in a club owned by Lou Clayton, who was a part of the famous vaudeville team Clayton and Durante. In the 1940s, Austin and his singers toured the country in a 14-truck caravan with its own power plant and he stopped in Minden and performed there in a popular tent show on the grounds of the local Coca-Cola plant owned by the Hunter family. In 1925, Austin recorded his popular song When My Sugar Walks Down the Street for the Victor Talking Machine Company in a duet with Aileen Stanley, nathaniel Shilkret, in his autobiography, describes the events leading to the recording. In the next decade with Victor, Austin sold over 80 million records – a total unmatched by a single artist for 40 years, best sellers included The Lonesome Road, Riding Around in the Rain, and Ramona.
Such crooners as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Russ Columbo all credited Austin with creating the genre that began their careers. Gene Austin was an important pioneer crooner whose records in their day enjoyed record sales, the Genial Texan ex-vaudevillian and would-be screen idol, Austin constitutes an underrated landmark in popular music history. He made a number of influential recordings from the mid-1920s including a string of best-sellers. His 1926 Bye Bye Blackbird was in the top twenty records. George A. Whiting and Walter Donaldson’s My Blue Heaven was charted during 1928 for 26 weeks, stayed at #1 for 13 and it was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. Until Bing Crosbys White Christmas replaced it, it was the largest selling record of all time
Alice Babs was a Swedish singer and actress. She worked in a number of genres – Swedish folklore, Elizabethan songs. While she was best known internationally as a singer, Babs competed as Swedens first annual competition entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest 1958. In 1972 she was named Sweden’s Royal Court Singer, the first non-opera singer as such, after making her breakthrough in the film Swing it magistern, she appeared in more than a dozen Swedish-language films. Despite being cast as the well-behaved, good-hearted, cheerful girl, a vicar called the Babs cult the foot and mouth disease of cultural life. In 1958, she was the first artist to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest, the same year, she formed Swe-Danes with guitarist Ulrik Neumann and violinist Svend Asmussen. The group would tour the United States together, before dissolving in 1965. A long and productive period of collaboration with Duke Ellington began in 1963, among other works, Babs participated in performances of Ellingtons second and third Sacred Concerts which he had written originally for her.
Her voice had a range of more than three octaves, Ellington said that when she was not available to sing the parts that he had written for her, in 1963, her recording of After Youve Gone reached No.43 in the British charts. In 1943 Babs married Nils Ivar Sjöblom and their three children are Lilleba Sjöblom Lagerbäck, Lars-Ivar Sjöblom, and Titti Sjöblom. Titti Sjöblom appeared with her mother in recordings and radio shows from the mid-1950s, at the end of Alice Babs career and daughter again toured together. 1973–2004 Babs and her husband resided in Costa del Sol, while working in Sweden. In their years, they returned to Sweden, Babs died of complications from Alzheimers disease at age 90 on 11 February 2014 in Stockholm. Thunder and Lightning Alice Babs discography includes more than 800 recordings since her debut with Joddlarflickan in 1939, the following is a list of her recordings available on CD, listed chronologically from when they were originally recorded. Originally recorded, 1939–53 Sonora 548493-2 Swing it, originally recorded 1960–1969 EMI724353989422 Den olydiga ballongen/Hej du måne, originally recorded, 1968–76 Prophone PCD045 What a joy
Josephine Baker was a French vedette and entertainer, whose career was centered primarily in Europe, mostly in her adoptive country of France. During her early career she was renowned as a dancer, and was among the most celebrated performers to headline the lavish revues of the Folies Bergère in Paris. She was celebrated by artists and intellectuals of the era, who dubbed her the Black Pearl, the Bronze Venus. Born in St. Louis, she renounced her U. S. citizenship, Baker was the first person of African descent to become a world-famous entertainer and to star in a major motion picture, the 1934 Marc Allégret film Zouzou. Baker refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States and is noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, in 1968 she was offered unofficial leadership in the movement in the United States by Coretta Scott King, following Martin Luther King Jr. s assassination. After thinking it over, Baker declined the offer out of concern for the welfare of her children and she was known for aiding the French Resistance during World War II.
After the war, she was awarded the Croix de guerre by the French military, Josephine Baker was born as Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother, was adopted in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1886 by Richard and Elvira McDonald, Josephine Bakers estate identifies vaudeville drummer Eddie Carson as her natural father despite evidence to the contrary. Bakers foster son Jean-Claude Baker wrote a biography on her that was published in 1993 titled Josephine, Jean-Claude Baker did an exhaustive amount of research into the life of Josephine Baker, including the identity of her biological father. In the book, he discusses at length the circumstances surrounding Josephine Bakers birth, Carrie McDonald and Eddie Carson had a song-and-dance act, when Josephine was about a year old they began to carry her onstage occasionally during their finale. She was further exposed to business at an early age because her childhood neighborhood was home to many vaudeville theaters that doubled as movie houses.
These venues included the Jazzland, Booker T. Washington, the incident was immortalized that year by songwriter Bill Dooley, in a song called Frankie Killed Allen, which was revamped as the American classic blues ballad Frankie and Johnny. Josephine was always poorly dressed and hungry as a child, and she had little formal education, and attended Lincoln Elementary School only through the fifth grade. Josephines mother married a kind but perpetually unemployed man, Arthur Martin, with whom she had a son and she took in laundry to wash to make ends meet, and at eight years old, Josephine began working as a live-in domestic for white families in St. Louis. One woman abused her, burning Josephines hands when the girl put too much soap in the laundry. At 13, Josephine worked as a waitress at the Old Chauffeurs Club at 3133 Pine Street. She lived as a child in the slums of St. Louis, sleeping in cardboard shelters, scavenging for food in garbage cans. It was at the Old Chauffeurs Club where Josephine met Willie Wells, the marriage lasted less than a year and she left Wells to join a black vaudeville group
Ann-Margret is a Swedish-American actress and dancer. As an actress, she is best known for her roles in Bye Bye Birdie, Viva Las Vegas, The Cincinnati Kid, Carnal Knowledge, Grumpy Old Men, and Grumpier Old Men. She has won five Golden Globe Awards and been nominated for two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and six Emmy Awards, in 2010, she won her first Emmy Award for her guest appearance on Law & Order, Special Victims Unit. Her singing and acting careers span five decades, starting in 1961, initially and she had a minor hit in 1961 and a charting album in 1964, and scored a disco hit in 1979. In 2001, she recorded a critically acclaimed album. Ann-Margret was born in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland County, the daughter of Anna Regina and Carl Gustav Olsson and she described Valsjöbyn as a small town of lumberjacks and farmers high up near the Arctic Circle. Her father worked in the United States during his youth and moved again in 1942, working with the Johnson Electrical Company, while his wife.
Ann-Margret and her mother moved to the United States in November 1946 and they settled just outside Chicago, in Wilmette, Illinois. Her parents were supportive, her mother all her costumes. Ann-Margrets mother became a funeral parlor receptionist after her husband suffered an injury on his job. While a teenager, Ann-Margret appeared on the Morris B, sachs Amateur Hour, Don McNeills Breakfast Club, and Ted Macks Amateur Hour. While she attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, in 1959, she enrolled at Northwestern University, where she was a member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, but did not graduate. As part of a known as the Suttletones, she performed at the Mist, a Chicago nightclub. They moved on to Los Angeles, and through agent Georgia Lund, secured club dates in Newport Beach and Reno, the group finally arrived at the Dunes in Las Vegas, which headlined Tony Bennett and Al Hirt at that time. George Burns heard of her performance, and she auditioned for his holiday show, in which Burns.
Variety proclaimed, George Burns has a mine in Ann-Margret. She has a style of her own, which can easily guide her to star status. Ann-Margret began recording for RCA Victor in 1961 and she scored the minor hit I Just Dont Understand, which entered the Billboard Top 40 in the third week of August 1961 and stayed six weeks, peaking at number 17
William James Count Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist and composer. His mother taught him to play the piano and he started performing in his teens, dropping out of school, he learned to operate lights for vaudeville and to improvise accompaniment for silent films at a local movie theater in his home town of Red Bank, New Jersey. By 16 years old, he played jazz piano at parties, resorts. In 1924, he went to Harlem, where his career expanded, he toured with groups to the major jazz cities of Chicago, St. Louis. In 1929 he joined Bennie Motens band in Kansas City, in 1935, Basie formed his own jazz orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, and in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording. William Basie was born to Harvey Lee and Lillian Basie in Red Bank and his father worked as a coachman and caretaker for a wealthy judge. After automobiles replaced horses, his became an groundskeeper and handyman for several wealthy families in the area. Both of his parents had some type of musical background and his father played the mellophone, and his mother played the piano, in fact, she gave Basie his first piano lessons.
She took in laundry and baked cakes for sale for a living and she paid 25 cents a lesson for piano instruction for him. Not much of a student in school, Basie dreamed of a traveling life and he finished junior high school but spent much of his time at the Palace Theater in Red Bank, where doing occasional chores gained him free admission to performances. He quickly learned to improvise music appropriate to the acts and the silent movies, though a natural at the piano, Basie preferred drums. Discouraged by the talents of Sonny Greer, who lived in Red Bank and became Duke Ellingtons drummer in 1919. Greer and Basie played together in venues until Greer set out on his professional career, by then, Basie was playing with pick-up groups for dances and amateur shows, including Harry Richardsons Kings of Syncopation. When not playing a gig, he hung out at the pool hall with other musicians. He got some jobs in Asbury Park at the Jersey Shore, around 1920, Basie went to Harlem, a hotbed of jazz, where he lived down the block from the Alhambra Theater.
Early after his arrival, he bumped into Sonny Greer, who was by the drummer for the Washingtonians, Basie met many of the Harlem musicians who were making the scene, including Willie the Lion Smith and James P. Johnson. His touring took him to Kansas City, St. Louis, New Orleans, throughout his tours, Basie met many jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong. Before he was 20 years old, he toured extensively on the Keith and TOBA vaudeville circuits as a solo pianist and music director for blues singers and this provided an early training that was to prove significant in his career
Paul Albert Anka OC is a Canadian-American singer and actor. Anka became famous during the late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s with hit songs like Diana, Lonely Boy, Put Your Head on My Shoulder and he was inducted into Canadas Walk of Fame in 2005. In 1983, he co-wrote the song I Never Heard with Michael Jackson and it was retitled and released in 2009 under the name This Is It. An additional song that Jackson co-wrote with Anka from this 1983 session, the song was released by Johnny Mathis in 1984. Anka became a naturalized US citizen in 1990, Anka was born in Ottawa, Ontario, to Camelia and Andrew Emile Andy Anka, Sr. who owned a restaurant called the Locanda. His parents were both Antiochian Orthodox Christians, Ankas father was Syrian-American from ’Uyūn al-Wādī from the NaNou family and his mother was Canadian-Lebanese from the town of Kfarmishki, in Lebanon. Anka sang with the St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church choir under the direction of Frederick Karam and he studied piano with Winnifred Rees.
He attended Fisher Park High School, where he was part of a trio called the Bobby Soxers. Paul Anka recorded his first single, I Confess, when he was 14, in an interview with NPRs Terry Gross in 2005, he stated that it was to a girl at his church whom he hardly knew. The song Diana brought Anka stardom as it rocketed to No.1 on the Canadian, Diana is one of the best selling singles ever by a Canadian recording artist. He followed up with four songs made it into the Top 20 in 1958, including Its Time to Cry, which hit No.4 and My Heart Sings. 15, making him one of the biggest teen idols of the time and he toured Britain, Australia with Buddy Holly. Anka wrote It Doesnt Matter Anymore – a song written for Holly, Anka stated shortly afterward, It Doesnt Matter Anymore has a tragic irony about it now, but at least it will help look after Buddy Hollys family. Im giving my composers royalty to his widow – its the least I can do, Paul Ankas talent included the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
Anka composed Tom Joness biggest hit record, Shes a Lady, and wrote the English lyrics to My Way, Frank Sinatras signature song. In the 1960s, Anka began acting in motion pictures as well as writing songs for them, most notably the theme for the hit film The Longest Day, for his film work he wrote and recorded one of his greatest hits, Lonely Boy. He wrote and recorded My Home Town, which was a No.8 pop hit for him the same year and he went on to become one of the first pop singers to perform at the Las Vegas casinos. In 1960, he appeared twice as himself in NBCs short-lived crime drama Dan Raven, in 1960, Anka signed with RCA Victor
Hal Blaine is an American drummer and session musician. He is most known for his work with the Wrecking Crew in California and he has played on 40 number one hit singles,150 top ten hits and has performed on, by his own accounting, over 35,000 recorded tracks. He is widely regarded as one of the most prolific drummers in rock and roll history, Blaine is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2010, Blaine was born to Jewish Eastern European immigrants and Rose Belsky, in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Hal Blaine Strikes Again is a stamp used by Blaine to mark music scores and places where he has played. Drummer and author Max Weinberg, in his introduction to the chapter on Blaine in his book, Eleven years our band played Wembley Arena, after the show, while we were relaxing backstage, Bruce asked me to come into his dressing room. I went in, he pointed to the wall and said, I looked at the wall but didnt see anything except peeling wallpaper.
Finally, I got right down on the spot he was pointing to, and right there, in a crack in the paper, rubber stamped to the wall, it said HAL BLAINE STRIKES AGAIN. When asked to explain about the stamp Blaine replied, I always stamp my charts, and theres a reason why I started that, it wasnt all ego. He went on to describe that occasionally he would need to find a particular chart amidst five hundred pieces of music in a pile and he needed some mark to do so. Eventually I had a stamp made up, and from that day on Ive always stamped every piece of music I play. Hal was getting so many studio dates he actually had a stamp made. Robinson and 1971 for Bridge over Troubled Water, The 5th Dimension in 1970 for Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,1963 Deuces, Ts, Roadsters and Drums 1966 Drums. A Go Go 1967 Psychedelic Percussion 1968 Have Fun, with Irene Kral Wonderful Life Hal Blaines drums can be heard as part of the Wall of Sound on the Ronettes 1963 No.2 hit Be My Baby, produced by Phil Spector at Hollywoods Gold Star Studios.
Max Weinberg wrote, If Hal Blaine had played only on the Ronettes Be My Baby, his name would still be uttered with reverence. Rolling Stone magazine listed the song as No.22 on The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, in March 2000, Hal Blaine was one of the first five sidemen inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Some of the musicians with whom Blaine has worked include
Constance Foore Connee Boswell was an American female vocalist born in Kansas City but raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. With her sisters and Helvetia Vet Boswell, she performed in the 1930s as The Boswell Sisters and they became a highly influential singing group during this period via recordings and radio. I tried so hard to sound just like her. In 1936, Connees sisters retired and Connee continued on as a solo artist and she was born on December 3,1907 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Boswells came to be known locally while still in their early teens, making appearances in New Orleans theaters. They made their first recordings for Victor Records in 1925, which included Cryin Blues where Connee is featured singing in the style of her early influence, the Boswell Sisters became stage professionals that year when they were tapped to fill in for an act at New Orleans Orpheum Theatre. They received an invitation to come to Chicago and perform in 1928, when their tour ended they traveled to San Francisco.
The hotel that had been recommended had a less than savory reputation, and that man, Harry Leedy, part owner of Decca Records, would become the sisters manager on a handshake and Connees husband. The sisters traveled to Los Angeles where they performed on radio and side-miked for the soundies. They did not attain national attention, until moved to New York City in 1930. After a few recordings with Okeh Records, they made recordings for Brunswick Records from 1931-1935. In 1935, the sisters had a #1 hit with The Object of My Affection, in 1936, the group signed to Decca Records and after just three releases called it quits. Connee continued to have a solo career as a singer for Decca. In addition to being a co-star on NBC Radios Kraft Music Hall in 1940-41, she subsequently had radio series for CBS Radio Tonight On Broadway and she was interviewed via phone by Bill Fisher on WOWO. The acetate disks label contained no date, but since her new Decca single of Begin The Beguine was promoted in it, the date should be presumed to be 1952.
All through her career with The Boswell Sisters, and into the early 1940s and she changed the spelling to Connee. Stories vary as to why she made the change, Connee sang from a wheelchair - or seated position - during her career, due to either a childhood bout with polio or a fall from the back of a coaster wagon. The general public was not aware of her condition although Boswell herself did not keep this secret, during World War II, she tried to get involved with the USO tours but was not given permission to travel overseas. The Army thought it not be a morale-booster to have a singer who used a wheelchair perform for the troops
Dame Julia Elizabeth Julie Andrews, DBE is an English actress, author, theatre director and dancer. Andrews, an actress and singer, appeared on the West End in 1948. She rose to prominence starring in Broadway musicals such as My Fair Lady, playing Eliza Doolittle, in 1957, Andrews starred in the premiere of Rodgers and Hammersteins written-for-television musical Cinderella, a live network broadcast seen by over 100 million viewers. Andrews made her film debut in Mary Poppins, and won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the title role. She starred in The Sound of Music, playing Maria, between 1964 and 1986, she starred in The Americanization of Emily, Torn Curtain, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Star. The Tamarind Seed,10, Victor/Victoria, Thats Life. in 2000, Andrews was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the performing arts. In 2002, she was ranked #59 in the BBCs poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, in 2003, she revisited her first Broadway success, this time as a stage director, with a revival of The Boy Friend.
From 2001 to 2004, Andrews starred in The Princess Diaries, The Princess Diaries 2, from 2004 to 2010, she lent her voice to the Shrek animated films, and Despicable Me. She is an author of books and has published her autobiography, Home. Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on 1 October 1935 in Walton-on-Thames and her mother, Barbara Ward Wells was born in Chertsey and married Edward Charles Ted Wells, a teacher of metalwork and woodwork in 1932. However, Andrews was conceived as a result of an affair her mother had with a family friend. Andrews discovered her true parentage from her mother in 1950, although it was not publicly disclosed until her 2008 autobiography, with the outbreak of World War II, Barbara and Ted Wells went their separate ways and were soon divorced. Ted Wells assisted with evacuating children to Surrey during the Blitz, Andrews lived briefly with Ted Wells and her brother John in Surrey. In 1940, Ted Wells sent young Julia to live with her mother and stepfather, the Andrews family was very poor and we lived in a bad slum area of London, Andrews recalled, That was a very black period in my life.
According to Andrews, her stepfather was violent and an alcoholic, Ted Andrews twice, while drunk, tried to get into bed with his stepdaughter, resulting in Andrews fitting a lock on her door. The Andrews family took up residence at the Old Meuse, in West Grove and she had an enormous influence on me, Andrews said of Stiles-Allen, She was my third mother – Ive got more mothers and fathers than anyone in the world. In her memoir Julie Andrews – My Star Pupil, Stiles-Allen records, The range and she had possessed the rare gift of absolute pitch. According to Andrews, Madame was sure that I could do Mozart and Rossini, of her own voice, she says I had a very pure, thin voice, a four-octave range – dogs would come for miles around
Louis Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo or Satch, was an American trumpeter, composer and occasional actor who was one of the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s and he was skilled at scat singing. Armstrong was one of the first truly popular African-American entertainers to cross over and he rarely publicly politicized his race, often to the dismay of fellow African Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation in the Little Rock crisis. His artistry and personality allowed him socially acceptable access to the upper echelons of American society which were restricted for black men of his era. Armstrong often stated that he was born on July 4,1900, although he died in 1971, it was not until the mid-1980s that his true birth date, August 4,1901, was discovered by the researcher Tad Jones through the examination of baptismal records. Armstrong was born into a family in New Orleans, Louisiana. He spent his youth in poverty, in a neighborhood known as the Battlefield.
His father, William Armstrong, abandoned the family when Louis was an infant and his mother, Mary Mayann Albert, left Louis and his younger sister, Beatrice Armstrong Collins, in the care of his grandmother, Josephine Armstrong, and at times his uncle Isaac. At five, he moved back to live with his mother, her relatives and he attended the Fisk School for Boys, where he most likely had early exposure to music. He hung out in dance halls close to home, where he observed everything from licentious dancing to the quadrille, after dropping out of the Fisk School at age eleven, Armstrong joined a quartet of boys who sang in the streets for money. He started to get into trouble, Cornet player Bunk Johnson said he taught Armstrong to play by ear at Dago Tonys Tonk in New Orleans, although in his years Armstrong gave the credit to Oliver. It has given me something to live for and he worked for a Lithuanian-Jewish immigrant family, the Karnofskys, who had a junk-hauling business and gave him odd jobs.
They took him in and treated him like family, knowing he lived without a father and he wrote a memoir of his relationship with the Karnofskys, Louis Armstrong + the Jewish Family in New Orleans, La. the Year of 1907. Armstrong wore a Star of David pendant for the rest of his life and wrote about what he learned from them, how to live—real life, professor Peter Davis instilled discipline in and provided musical training to the otherwise self-taught Armstrong. Eventually, Davis made Armstrong the band leader, the home band played around New Orleans and the thirteen-year-old Louis began to draw attention by his cornet playing, starting him on a musical career. At fourteen he was released from the home, living again with his father and new stepmother, Armstrong got his first dance hall job at Henry Ponces, where Black Benny became his protector and guide. He hauled coal by day and played his cornet at night, later, he played in brass bands and riverboats of New Orleans, and began traveling with the well-regarded band of Fate Marable, which toured on a steamboat up and down the Mississippi River.
He described his time with Marable as going to the University, in 1919, Joe Oliver decided to go north and resigned his position in Kid Orys band, Armstrong replaced him
Mildred Rinker Bailey was a popular and influential American jazz singer during the 1930s, known as The Queen of Swing, The Rockin Chair Lady and Mrs. Swing. Some of her hits are Its So Peaceful in the Country, Trust in Me. I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart, Small Fry, Please Be Kind, Darn That Dream, Rockin Chair, Blame It on My Last Affair, Bailey was born Mildred Rinker in Tekoa, Washington. Her mother, was an member of the Coeur dAlene Tribe. Her father, played fiddle and called square dances and her mother played piano every evening after supper and taught Mildred to play and sing. Her brothers were the vocalist and composer Al Rinker and the lyricist Charles Rinker, at seventeen, Bailey moved to Seattle and worked as a sheet music demonstrator at Woolworths. She married and divorced Ted Bailey, keeping his last name because she thought it sounded more American than Rinker, with the help of her second husband, Benny Stafford, she became an established blues and jazz singer on the West Coast.
According to Gary Giddins, in his book Bing Crosby, A Pocketful of Dreams, The Early Years 1903–1940, in 1925 she secured work for her brother, Al Rinker, and his partner, Bing Crosby. Giddins further states that Crosby first heard of Louis Armstrong and other Chicago black jazz records from Baileys collection, Crosby helped Bailey in turn by introducing her to Paul Whiteman. She sang with Whitemans band from 1929 to 1933 and her first two records were as uncredited vocalist for a session by the Eddie Lang Orchestra in 1929 and a 1930 recording of I Like to Do Things for You for Frankie Trumbauer. She was Whitemans popular female vocalist through 1932, when she left the band over salary disagreements and she recorded a series of records for Brunswick in 1933 and an all-star session with Benny Goodmans studio band in 1934, featuring Coleman Hawkins. In the mid-1930s, she recorded with her husband, Red Norvo. A dynamic couple, they earned the nicknames Mr. and Mrs. Swing, from 1936 to 1939 Norvo recorded for Brunswick and Bailey made her own recordings for Vocalion, often with Norvos band.
Some of her recordings instead featured members of Count Basies band, despite their divorce, the two continue to record together off and on until 1945. She sang on a number of Benny Goodmans Columbia recordings in 1939 and 1940, a large woman, she suffered from diabetes and depression. She only made a few recordings following World War II, Bailey died of heart failure, due chiefly to diabetes, on December 12,1951, in Poughkeepsie, New York, aged 44. Norvo outlived Bailey by nearly half a century, dying in April 1999, in 1989, Bailey was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1938, Bailey had two number one hits with Red Norvo and his Orchestra, Please Be Kind reached number one on the Hit Parade chart on May 7
Polly Bergen was an American actress, television host and entrepreneur. She won an Emmy Award in 1958 for her performance as Helen Morgan in The Helen Morgan Story, for her stage work she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Carlotta Campion in Follies in 2001. Her film work included 1962s Cape Fear and 1963s The Caretakers and she hosted her own variety show for one season, and as an author wrote three books on beauty and charm. Bergen was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Lucy and William Hugh Burgin, Bergen appeared in many film roles, most notably in the original Cape Fear opposite Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. She had roles as the romantic interest in three Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy films in the early 1950s, At War with the Army, Thats My Boy, and The Stooge. She was featured in a number of westerns during the 1950s, including Warpath, bergens roles included Mrs. Vernon-Williams in Cry-Baby, a John Waters film. Bergen received an Emmy award for her portrayal of singer Helen Morgan in the episode The Helen Morgan Story of the 1950s television series Playhouse 90, signed to Columbia Records, she enjoyed a successful recording career during this era, as well.
In the 1950s she was known as The Pepsi Cola Girl and she was a regular panelist on the CBS game show To Tell the Truth, during its original run. She appeared on the NBC interview program Heres Hollywood and she earned an Emmy nomination for her role as Rhoda Henry, wife of Capt. Pug Henry, in two ABC miniseries, The Winds of War and its sequel and Remembrance. She starred in a 2001 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheims Follies at the Belasco Theater, in 2003, she starred at the same theatre in Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks opposite Mark Hamill in a role she took over from Rue McClanahan. Bergen played Fran Felstein on HBOs The Sopranos, the mistress of Johnny Soprano. From 2007 to 2011 Bergen had a guest role in Desperate Housewives as Lynette Scavos mother, Stella Wingfield and she was a semi-regular cast member of Commander-in-Chief as the mother of Mackenzie Allen, the President of the United States, played by Geena Davis. Bergen herself had once played the first female President of the United States, as President Leslie McCloud in the 1964 film, Kisses for My President.
Another late appearance came in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation, Candles on Bay Street, in 1965, Bergen created the Polly Bergen Company cosmetics line. She created lines of jewelry and shoe brands, and authored three books on beauty, Bergen was married to actor Jerome Courtland in the early 1950s. In 1957 she married Hollywood agent-producer Freddie Fields with whom she had two adopted children, Pamela Kerry Fields and Peter William Fields, and stepdaughter, Kathy Fields, Bergen converted from Southern Baptist to Judaism upon marrying Fields. She was married to entrepreneur Jeffrey Endervelt in the 1980s, Bergen was a liberal-minded, politically active Democrat and feminist. She was an advocate of the Equal Rights Amendment, womens education