When I was a teenager I learned about love, romance, and heartbreak from my parents’ collection of Ella Fitzgerald records. They had all of her classic songbook sets – Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, George and Ira Gershwin. The sophisticated wordplay sometimes puzzled me, but I loved to sing along to the sly, witty, or mournful tunes. By the summer of 1963, I knew many of the words by heart and could sing along quietly at the outdoor concert my parents took me to in Washington, DC. The crowd was vibrating with adoration and Ella sang to us long after the lights and microphone had been cut off.
She sang of a love where looks were not important and every day was a Valentine.
She sang of loneliness and the change in weather after falling in love.
She made falling in love sound a bit saucy and definitely fun.
“I Could Write a Book”
She made falling in love with a friend sound terribly romantic.
I have many happy memories of listening and dancing to singers like Chubby Checker and The Everly Brothers, but the great songs as sung by Ella Fitzgerald make up the soundtrack of my youth.
Have you spent any time listening to Ella? I hope you enjoyed her timeless voice.