THE INESTIMABLE – ELLA FITZGERALD

When I was young (the year was 1989) I got to see Ella Fitzgerald at the Hollywood Bowl – I’d never heard her before, and I was enchanted. I think she must have been in her eighties and at one point she stepped too far and stumbled off the stage into the box seats where she was caught by the crowd. Unruffled, she got back on stage and continued to perform. I can’t remember if she thanked her doctor at that point for keeping her in good health, or earlier in the evening.

Miss Fitzgerald in 1956 returning from a tour of Europe:

12 comments

  1. I never got to see Ella, wish I had. But in the 80’s I did get to take my mom and granny to see Lena Horne. She came out in a floor length sable. After her first song. She slipped it off, dropped it to the floor and kicked it aside. “I can do that…” she said ” because it is mine.” the crowd went bonkers!

  2. Manuel Gosano

    Great photos. Many thanks.

    I was a co-founder of The Ella Fitzgerald Music Appreciation Society many years ago, and also the UK Secretary.

    The definitive biography is Stuart Nicholson’s “Ella Fitzgerald”. Stuart was one of my members and is the only biographer who went back to primary sources. He was the first to discover she was born in 1917 and not 1918 as she herself thought! This means Ella was 72 when you saw her in 1989. Stuart gave me a copy of the documented proof of her age.

    Another great book on Ella is “Ella Fitzgerald : An Annotated Discography” by J. Wilfred Johnson who founded the society with me. It is the best one around but also the most expensive. However, if you shop around you can get it much cheaper as I did on Amazon.

    Our members voted The Intimate Ella their favourite album. My favourite recording is Body and Soul from the album Ella Swings Gently With Nelson as it shows to perfection something only Ella did, better than anyone else. That is, to illustrate the lyrics musically instead of acting the lyrics out like Sinatra, Garland, Streisand and many others. When Ella reaches the last verse “My life a wreck you’re making” she abandons the melody, goes up an octave and improvise the wreck that is her life. Ella was great at scatting but she was even better at illustrating lyrics by improvising.

  3. Dear Vickie
    What a nice little find I stumbled upon here. In doing research for my own story about Ella Fitzgerald, Google brought me to this page and the photo of Ella at the Hollywood Bowl on July 12, 1989. I just posted a story about that exact concert on my website and thought perhaps you might be interested in reading it. It’s titled “Ella Fitzgerald and Molly: A Love Story”. The story is in the section of my website titled “The Bhlogavad Gita”. I really think you might enjoy it as you seem to have quite an affinity for exactly the things I write about in my story.

    I have enjoyed reading your site and all that is contained therein.

    Sincerely
    Walter Flint

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