Sunday 19 November 2017

100 years of Ella Fitzgerald

Part of the Independent Newspapers/NLI Collection. See more at
Part of the Independent Newspapers/NLI Collection. See more at

Today is the 100th birthday of the queen of jazz.

Ella Fitzgerald first came to Ireland in 1964. She is pictured above at Dublin airport where she was greeted by a modest crowd, despite her incredible success and fame. At the time she had sold more records than the Beatles, who had been swamped by thousands of teenagers when they played in Dublin the year before.

When quizzed by reporters in Dublin about the pop quartet’s popularity Fitzgerald refused to comment, although one of her accompanying pianists Oscar Peterson quipped that: “Jazz has lasted and will last because it has got something deep in it. There is nothing deep in the music the Beatles play. In two years people will wonder what happened to it and them.”

She played two shows at the Adelphi Theatre on Abbey Street. In its lifetime the theatre hosted some of the biggest names in music, including the Beatles in 1963, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Louis Armstrong and Diana Ross. Fitzgerald returned to Ireland the following year and again in 1981.

Throughout her illustrious career she won 13 Grammy awards, taking home the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1967. Born in Virginia, she had no knowledge of the origin of her surname, other than it was obviously Irish. She was an ardent supporter of President Kennedy and campaigned for him during the 1960 election.

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