Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jo Stafford: The Gentleman Is a Dope

Jo Stafford, one of the great singers of the big band era, died last week at age 90. She studied opera as a child, and had a brief stint singing with her sisters as "The Stafford Sisters." In the mid-1930's, she joined the popular vocal group, The Pied Pipers, and had the opportunity to sing with Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey's big band.

In her solo career, Jo Stafford was clearly a star. She had a pure, clear voice, and was an incredibly versatile singer, pulling off comedy numbers like Tim-tayshun, traditional American folk songs like Poor Wayfaring Stranger, and pop ballads like You Belong to Me. A video I posted last summer shows her holding her own with Ella Fitzgerald on St. Louis Blues.

Here's a video of Ms. Stafford in concert in the 1950's with her hit song, The Gentleman Is a Dope:

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