Wednesday, December 21, 2011
WHERE ARE THEY NOW: WEE BONNIE BAKER
She was born in Orange, Texas on April 1, 1917; most sources give her birth name as Evelyn Nelson although, at the time of her death, her family gave it as Evelyn Underhill. She joined Orrin Tucker's band as a vocalist in 1936, after Louis Armstrong suggested that Tucker recruit her. Tucker gave her the stage name "Wee" Bonnie Baker on account of her height, about 4 foot 11 inches; she later changed her name legally to Bonnie Baker. Her girlish voice, described as "like a tiny silver bell, soft but tonally true", was used on a version of the 1917 song "Oh Johnny, Oh!", written by Abe Olman and Ed Rose. Released on Columbia Records, it became hugely popular in 1940, reaching no. 2 on the pop chart, and reportedly selling over a million copies. She also had success with the songs "You'd Be Surprised", "Billy", "Would Ja Mind", and "Especially For You".