Anita O'Day died.

Anita O'Day, whose sassy renditions of "Honeysuckle Rose," "Sweet Georgia Brown" and other song standards that made her one of the most respected jazz vocalists of the 1940s and '50s, has died. She was 87.


I'm a huge O'Day fan. Her Sweet Georgia Brown is incredible, but her catalog hides a number of fascinating, lesser hits people should hear too.

If your education in the great jazz singers begins and ends with Ella Fitzgerald, please consider giving O'Day a whirl. Start here, here, or maybe here if you've got some money burning a hole in your pocket. Plus, fall/winter is the best time of year to listen to jazz. Let the music warm you up. (You know, with some wine.)

Her biography is very entertaining too. If I have some time later, I'll try to transcribe some of my favorite parts.


Anonymous said...

To hear several random selections from Anita O'Day's almost 70 year recording
career please visit Yahoo Group
BillieHoliday_And_The_Disciples_Of_Swing where there is a pretty
spectacular tribute to Anita taking place.

Susan Harris said...

Chuck, I don't see an email address for you so I'm resorting to the comment route.
Thanks so much for your vote of confidence in GardenRant! Keep those comments coming, too.
Anytime you feel like ranting, let us know; we'd love to have you guest. Susan

susan harris said...

PS. I took your photo and lightened the background sufficiently to discover what a good-looking guy you are, no matter which team you play for. Don't be so shy! Susan

lisa said...

Glad you posted about this...more people need to give the older jazz a listen. My 23 yr. old son is filling his Ipod (and mine) with CD's from the library, and I told him to pick up Billie Holiday...he had no idea who she is! *Sigh*...where did I go wrong?
BTW...I agree with Susan's observation...;)

chuck b. said...

You said Billie Holliday. Okay, my favorite story from O'Day's biography is about her and Billie Holliday scoring dope together (you may know both had ferocious heroin addictions). Anyway, Anita said Billie's heroin addiction was so bad she had to prepare her fix in a *tuna can* (whereas most addicts us a tablespoon). Very sad. But wow.

lisa said...

Wonder why so many creative types end up using/abusing drugs of some sort? Too much energy and not enough to do with it? Coping with demons? Mere accessability? My family has a long history of addictive personalities, leading to all sorts of coping mechanisms, from workaholics to spenders, drinkers, druggies, and religious fanatics. But everyone is creative and sensitive too...I've always wondered what the deal is...and tuna can of dope?! Wow indeed!

chuck b. said...

I have personal theories about why people into drugs.

First of all, I think there was much less stigma about it way back when. In her biography, Anita O'Day said she could buy marijuana cigarets at the corner market when she was a teenager in Chicago. And after all, there used to be cocaine in Coca-Cola!

Later, when society started to believe there were consequences to drugs, people took them because they were fun and/or illegal and/or interesting, or what have you.

Then there are two reasons why people get hooked: 1) they have a genetic predisposition to it, so even a little bit is all it takes, and/or 2) People continue taking drugs even when they can stop because they hate themselves and they want to escape--and eventually they become addicted too even tho' they weren't predisposed to it in the first place.

None of which is to say that everyone who hates themselves takes drugs, or that hating yourself precludes being sensitive/etc, or that being sensitive/etc necessarily means you hate yourself.

Just my personal theories gained from watching different people around me get hooked on drugs, and from what I know from being a research chemist in the pharmaceutical industry.