Monday, November 22, 2021


 Nothing relaxes me more than one of the great songbirds from the golden age of singing. Whenever I am feeling stressed out, I love going to my music room and just listen to golden voices in the dark and get lost in the audio aspirins. I made a list of my five favorite female singers in 2013 and 2019 so I figured I was due to update my list. There are so any great female singers out there...

5. BILLIE HOLIDAY (1915-1959)
People either love or hate Billie's voice, and I love her singing. From her early recordings in the mid 1930s with Benny Goodman to her said and weakened voice in the 1950s, Billie had a way to sell a song. Billie's best recording was "God Bless The Child". "God Bless the Child" became Holiday's most popular and most covered record. It reached number 25 on the charts in 1941 and was third in Billboard's songs of the year, selling over a million records. Billie died tragically too young but her voice lives on in so many vocal masterpieces. (rank in 2013: 9, rank in 2019: 6)

4. JUDY GARLAND (1922-1969)
Like Billie, Judy Garland conveyed so much in her voice. Judy became an icon for the gay movement, but she also was a great recording star. Her records I feel were even better than her movies. At a young age she was signed to Decca and recorded some great numbers there like "Figaro", "Over The Rainbow", "No Love No Nothin", and "This Heart Of Mine". She only recorded soundtracks afterwards at MGM Records, but once she signed with Capitol in the 1950s, she made some terrific albums. Again, like Billie, Judy died way too young. (rank in 2013: 10, rank in 2019: 8)

3. CONNEE BOSWELL (1907-1976)
If you need an audio aspirin, then please listen to Connee Boswell. Connee herself is widely considered one of the greatest jazz female vocalists and was a major influence on Ella Fitzgerald. After breaking up with her sisters in 1936, she made some great solo records for Decca for the next 20 years. Some of my favorite of these records are: "I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart", "Sand In My Shoes", and "Why Don't You Fall In Love With Me" to just name a few. She made an excellent album for Decca in 1956 simply titled "Connee" with Sy Oliver and his Orchestra. Connee's last chart hit was "If I Give Myself To You" in 1954, and in my opinion I don't think she recorded enough. (rank in 2013: 2, rank in 2019: 3)

2. DINAH SHORE (1917-1994)
There is nothing finer than Dinah! After failing singing auditions for the bands of Benny Goodman, and both Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Shore struck out on her own. She became the first singer of her era to achieve huge solo success. She had a string of 80 charted popular hits, spanning 1940–1957. Eddie Cantor helped to discover her, and she got a contract to Bluebird in 1939 where she recorded such recordings as "Sleepy Lagoon" and "Yes, My Darling Daughter". She then went to Columbia and scored some mega hits like "Lavender Blue" and "Button And Bows". In the 1950s she also sang for Capitol Records for a time. Dinah became more widely known for her television shows by the 1960s, and her voice was not what it was, but she is still one of my favorite songbirds out there.(rank in 2013: 3, rank in 2019: 2)

1. JO STAFFORD (1917-2008)
Like Bing Crosby on my favorite male singer list, Jo Stafford has also been number one on my list for decades. In addition to her recordings with the Pied Pipers, Stafford featured in solo performances for Dorsey. After leaving the group in 1944, she recorded a series of pop standards for Capitol Records and Columbia Records. Many of her recordings were backed by the orchestra of Paul Weston. In the 1950s, Stafford had a string of popular hits with Frankie Laine, six of which charted. Their duet of the Hank Williams song "Hey Good Lookin'" made the top 10 in 1951. She had her best-known hits—"Jambalaya", "Shrimp Boats", "Make Love to Me", and "You Belong to Me"—around this time."You Belong to Me" was Stafford's biggest hit, topping the charts in the United States. Jo retired in 1970, and although she retired so young, she left us with such a great recording songbook. There was no one like Jo! (rank in 2013:1 rank in 2019: 1)

There are many other singers that I love too so here is my list of runners up to round out the top ten: Margaret Whiting (1924-2011), Peggy Lee (1920-2002), June Christy (1925-1990, Jeri Southern (1926-1991), and Kate Smith (1907-1986).

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