happy 100th birthday, ella fitzgerald // april 25, 1917 - june 15, 1996 // “just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong”

“The best way to start any musical evening is with [Ella]. It don’t get better than this.” Frank Sinatra

“Man, woman or child, Ella is the greatest of them all.” Bing Crosby

“Ella’s amazing! My daughter says that every time she makes a mistake, it becomes a hit record.” Lucille Ball

“It is so much fun to sing with Ella. It is so nice to sing with someone who does more than make a pretty noise.” Jo Stafford

“If you want to learn how to sing, listen to Ella Fitzgerald.” Vincent Minnelli

“The one radio voice that I listened to above others belonged to Ella Fitzgerald. There was a quality to her voice that fascinated me, and I’d sing along with her, trying to catch the subtle ways she shaded her voice, the casual yet clean way she sang the words.” Doris Day

Me gustaría morir en mi cumpleaños, morir el mismo día que nací, para no vivir días de más, ni lamentar haber vivido días menos. No me gustaría morir en navidad, o un día antes del cumpleaños de mi hermano o el día de las madres o el día que nació mi pequeña prima, porque todos lo sentirían todos los años y ya no tendrían deseos de festejar, no quiero morir con culpa, no sería justo. Pero en mi cumpleaños estaría bien, festejarían todos, festejarían un cumpleaños de alguien que alguna vez vivió y el aniversario de la misma persona que ya no está. Si, suena bien. Me gustaría ir a dormir un día antes, y al despertar a otro maldito cumpleaños, pueda levantarme y verme ahí, durmiendo... Sería un lindo regalo, odio mi cumpleaños pero ese último valdría la pena. Además ellos tendrían que festejar, ¿no? después de todo, era mi cumpleaños... mi último cumpleaños.
Ella’s Birthday Post on Facebook


Tomorrow I turn 20, and it’s all I’ve been able to think about for days. I walk around the city, up by the park and by the health food store and down into the subway, this new age hanging in front of my eyes like two of those Mylar balloons that never come down. Can people see it, I wonder, that I’m about to cross over? On the subway I stare at boys I want to kiss and girls I want to hug. Do you see me?

I’m eating raspberries sitting up in bed, thinking about watching The Crown, and I probably should have written something nicer ages ago but my head is so full of lyrics and drums these days that this is all I can manage. But it feels very important I write to you, for some reason.

I was 16 when most of us met. Can you believe it? I laugh thinking about that me now - that glossy idiot god, princess of her childhood streets, handmade and ugly and sure of herself.
All my life I’ve been obsessed with adolescence, drunk on it. Even when I was little, I knew that teenagers sparkled. I knew they knew something children didn’t know, and adults ended up forgetting.
Since 13 I’ve spent my life building this giant teenage museum, mausoleum maybe, dutifully wolfishly writing every moment down, and repeating it all back like folklore. And now there isn’t any more of it.
(*insert that emoji that looks like it’s eating its own face with worry, and also the one with sunglasses, and maybe also the poo*)
And I know, I know! There’s different stuff. Stuff that’s just as good, maybe better, just in a different way. If I’m being real with myself, in some ways I stopped feeling like a teenager a while ago.

Sometime in the last year or so, part of me crossed over. For one thing, I made a very deliberate choice to withdraw for a little while from a public life. I haven’t had my hair or makeup done in a year, the free handbags dried up LONG ago, and the paparazzi at the airport are almost always for someone else. And let me tell you, as much as I love being full noise album cycle girl, it’s been a motherfucking joy. (every once in a while I am recognised on the street - one of you breathlessly clutches my hand, shaking and speaking quickly, and I feel this SHOCK of love.)
I turned inwards to my friends, my family, towards this moment, so I could learn more about who I was, and so I could let this new project show itself to me.
And oh my god, it was a colossal year! One for the ages. I maxed out every single emotion I have in the best possible way, the colours still aching behind my eyes like this weird blissful hangover.
My heart broke. I moved out of home and into the city and I made new friends and started to realize that no-one is just good or bad, that everyone is both. I started to discover in a profound, scary, blood-aching way who I was when I was alone, what I did when I did things only for myself. I was reckless and graceless and terrifying and tender. I threw sprawling parties and sat in restaurants until the early hours, learning what it’s like to be an adult, even talking like one sometimes, until I caught myself. All I wanted to do was dance. I whispered into ears and let my eyes blaze on high and for the first time I felt this intimate, empire-sized inner power.

And then I wrote a record about it, all of it, so much more than what I’ve written down here, and I’m in new york getting it done. And tomorrow, I’m not a kid any more, and more and more I’m realizing that the weirdness of those Mylar balloons is going to be okay.
Writing Pure Heroine was my way of enshrining our teenage glory, putting it up in lights forever so that part of me never dies, and this record - well, this one is about what comes next.
I want nothing more than to spill my guts RIGHT NOW about the whole thing - I want you to see the album cover, pore over the lyrics (the best I’ve written in my life), touch the merch, experience the live show. I can hardly stop myself from typing out the name. I just need to keep working a while longer to make it as good as it can be. You’ll have to hold on. The big day is not tomorrow, or even next month realistically, but soon. I know you understand.

Oh my god it’s midnight now!!! I’m 20 fuck!!!!! And my perfect little brother Angelo is 15!! Happy birthday, kid. Sorry your sister is so weird and emotional in public all the time.

What i’m trying to say is: this is a special birthday. The party is about to start. I am about to show you the new world.

I love you forever.


Happy birthday, Ella! 

Ella Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996), live in Belgium, 1957 

1. Angel Eyes
2. Lullaby Of Birdland
3. Love For Sale  
4. Tenderly
5. April In Paris
6. Just One Of Those Things
7. Roll ‘Em Pete
8. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
9. It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)

Happy Birthday, Ella!

On this day in 1917, the “First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald, was born in Newport News, Virginia. But, did you know that she had a Boston connection?

Throughout her career, which she started at the young age of 16, Ella won 14 Grammy Awards, recorded more than 100 albums, performed all over the world with other great artists such as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Count Bassie, and even Boston’s own Arthur Fiedler. And, she had a long standing engagement at the Flamingo Room of Levaggi’s Restaurant in Boston. It is said that she came up with the idea for her famous song “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” while she was playing with the Chick Webb Orchestra at Levaggi’s in 1938. In addition, she also received an honorary doctorate from Boston University in 1978

Take a look at some of the records that we have of a reception in Ella’s honor that was held in Boston on April 5, 1979! Ella was visiting with the Olympic Gold Medal winner, Wilma Rudolph, and was presented with a pewter Paul Revere bowl by Mayor Kevin White. 

Reception for Ella Fitzgerald, 1979 April 5, Mayor Kevin H. White records, collection 0245.001, Box 96, Folder 89, City of Boston Archives