Georgia Gibbs

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Georgia Gibbs
Georgia gibbs.JPG
Background information
Birth nameFrieda Lipschitz
Born(1919-08-17)August 17, 1919
Origin Worcester, Massachusetts
DiedDecember 9, 2006(2006-12-09) (aged 87)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Years active1936–1966
Associated acts Ellis Larkins

Georgia Gibbs (born Frieda Lipschitz, [1] August 17, 1919 [1] – December 9, 2006) was an American popular singer and vocal entertainer rooted in jazz. Already singing publicly in her early teens, Gibbs first achieved acclaim (and notoriety) in the mid-1950s interpreting songs originating with the black rhythm and blues community and later as a featured vocalist on a long list of radio and television variety and comedy programs. Her key attribute was tremendous versatility and an uncommon stylistic range from melancholy ballad to uptempo swinging jazz and rock and roll.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Contents

Early life

Gibbs was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the youngest of four children of Russian Jewish descent. [2] Her father died when she was six months old, and she and her three siblings spent the next seven years in a local Jewish orphanage. [3]

Worcester, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Worcester is a city in, and the county seat of, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population was 181,045, making it the second most populous city in New England after Boston. Worcester is located approximately 40 miles (64 km) west of Boston, 50 miles (80 km) east of Springfield and 40 miles (64 km) north of Providence. Due to its location in Central Massachusetts, Worcester is known as the "Heart of the Commonwealth", thus, a heart is the official symbol of the city. However, the heart symbol may also have its provenance in lore that the Valentine's Day card, although not invented in the city, was mass-produced and popularized by Esther Howland who resided in Worcester.

Orphanage residential institution devoted to the care of orphans

Historically, an orphanage was a residential institution, or group home, devoted to the care of orphans and other children who were separated from their biological families. Examples of what would cause a child to be placed in orphanages are when the biological parents were deceased, the biological family was abusive to the child, there was substance abuse or mental illness in the biological home that was detrimental to the child, or the parents had to leave to work elsewhere and were unable or unwilling to take the child. The role of legal responsibility for the support of children whose parent(s) have died or are otherwise unable to provide care differs internationally.

Revealing a natural talent for singing at a young age, Frieda was given the lead in the orphanage's yearly variety show. When her mother, who had visited her every other month, found employment as a midwife, she came back for Frieda, but her job often forced her to leave her daughter for weeks at a time with only a Philco radio for company.

Variety shows, also known as variety arts or variety entertainment, is entertainment made up of a variety of acts including musical performances, sketch comedy, magic, acrobatics, juggling, and ventriloquism. It is normally introduced by a compère or host. The variety format made its way from Victorian era stage to radio and then television. Variety shows were a staple of anglophone television from the late 1940s into the 1980s.

Philco was a pioneer in battery, radio, and television production. In North America, it is the Philco brand owned by Philips. In other markets, it is the Philco International brand owned by Electrolux.

Career

While still in Worcester at age 13, Frieda auditioned for a job at the Plymouth, one of the prime vaudeville houses in Boston. The Plymouth's manager had already heard her sing on the local Worcester radio station, and Gibbs was hired and moved to Boston, [4] eventually landing at the Raymor Ballroom. She joined the Hudson-DeLange Orchestra in 1936 (age 17), and toured with them for 10 months as Fredda Gibson. [5] "You don't really know loneliness unless you do a year or two with a one-night band.", Gibbs said of her life on the big-band circuit, "Sing until about 2 a.m. Get in a bus and drive 400 miles. Stop in the night for the greasy hamburger. Arrive in a town. Try to sleep. Get up and eat." [6] [ full citation needed ]

Vaudeville genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s

Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville is a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation. It was originally a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, usually a comedy, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.

Boston Capital city of Massachusetts, United States

Boston is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. The city proper covers 48 square miles (124 km2) with an estimated population of 685,094 in 2017, making it also the most populous city in New England. Boston is the seat of Suffolk County as well, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country. As a combined statistical area (CSA), this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth-largest in the United States.

Eddie DeLange American bandleader and lyricist

Eddie DeLange was an American bandleader and lyricist. Famous artists who recorded some of DeLange's songs include Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman.

She found steady work on radio shows including Your Hit Parade , Melody Puzzles, and The Tim And Irene Show and freelanced in the late 1930s and early 1940s singing with the bands of Tommy Dorsey, Hal Kemp, Artie Shaw, and Frankie Trumbauer. While a Billboard article reports that her first time on disk was with Trumbauer's orchestra: The Laziest Gal in Town on Brunswick Records, [7] liner notes from the 1998 Simitar compilation report her appearance on some of DeLange's recordings on Brunswick, and a recording exists with Hal Kemp from 1939. She first charted with Shaw's band in 1942 on Absent Minded Moon (Victor 27779) which received a lukewarm review at the time. [8]

<i>Your Hit Parade</i> American radio and television music program

Your Hit Parade is an American radio and television music program that was broadcast from 1935 to 1953 on radio, and seen from 1950 to 1959 on television. It was sponsored by American Tobacco's Lucky Strike cigarettes. During this 24-year run, the show had 19 orchestra leaders and 52 singers or groups. Many listeners and viewers casually referred to the show with the incorrect title The Hit Parade.

Tommy Dorsey American big band leader and musician

Thomas Francis Dorsey Jr. was an American jazz trombonist, composer, conductor and bandleader of the big band era. He was known as the "Sentimental Gentleman of Swing" because of his smooth-toned trombone playing. His technical skill on the trombone gave him renown among other musicians. He was the younger brother of bandleader Jimmy Dorsey. After Dorsey broke with his brother in the mid-1930s, he led an extremely popular and highly successful band from the late 1930s into the 1950s. He is best remembered for standards such as "Opus One", "Song of India", "Marie", "On Treasure Island", and his biggest hit single, "I'll Never Smile Again".

James Hal Kemp was a jazz alto saxophonist, clarinetist, bandleader, composer, and arranger. He was born in Marion, Alabama, and died in Madera, California, following an auto accident. His major recordings were "Got A Date With An Angel", "Heart Of Stone", "Lamplight", "The Music Goes 'Round And Around", "You're The Top", "Bolero", "Gloomy Sunday", "Lullaby Of Broadway", and many others.

In 1943, with her name changed to Georgia Gibbs, she began appearing on the Camel Caravan radio program, hosted by Jimmy Durante and Garry Moore, where she remained a regular performer until 1947. It was Moore who bestowed upon her the famous nickname "Her Nibs, Miss Georgia Gibbs," ironically using the title to describe the singer of diminutive stature who had an enormous "authoritative" prominence in American pop music. [9]

<i>Camel Caravan</i>

Camel Caravan was a musical variety radio program, sponsored by Camel cigarettes, that aired on NBC Radio and CBS Radio from 1933 to 1954. Various vocalists, musicians and comedy acts were heard during the 21 years this show was on the air, including such talents as Benny Goodman, Georgia Gibbs, Anita O'Day and Vaughn Monroe.

Jimmy Durante American jazz singer, pianist, comedian and actor

James Francis Durante was an American singer, pianist, comedian, and actor. His distinctive clipped gravelly speech, Lower East Side Manhattan accent, comic language-butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and prominent nose helped make him one of America's most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s. He often referred to his nose as the schnozzola, and the word became his nickname.

Garry Moore Entertainer, comedian, game show host

Garry Moore was an American entertainer, comedic personality, game show host, and humorist best known for his work in television. He began a long career with the CBS network on radio in the 1940s and was a television host on several variety and game shows from the 1950s through the 1970s.

Gibbs signed with Majestic Records in 1946 cutting multiple records, but her first solo hit single, "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake" (on the Coral label) did not come until 1950. During this period she also was the featured vocalist on tours with comedians Danny Kaye and Sid Caesar. Success as a singer outside of radio and variety shows continued to elude her, as noted in a 1952 Time article:

"Georgia", they kept telling her, "you gotta get a sound." Musical soothsayers were trying to get Songstress Georgia Gibbs into line with the latest fashion. Perhaps, they thought, she should sing mechanized duets with herself (like Patti Page), or she might try an echo chamber background (like Peggy Lee). But gimmicks were not Georgia Gibbs's cup of tea. She had a big, old-fashioned voice, a good ear, a vivacious personality, and she knew how to sing from the shoulder. She would stick with plain Georgia Gibbs. [10]

Through 1949 and 1950 she appeared on TV shows Cavalcade of Stars and All Star Revue . In 1951 she signed with Mercury Records where she ultimately had success "sticking with plain Georgia Gibbs". Possessed of a versatile voice, she cut a long list of well-received records in every category from torch songs to rock-and-roll, to jazz, swing, old fashioned ballads and cha-chas. The most successful,1952's "Kiss Of Fire", which she performed on the Milton Berle Show in that spring, reached #1 on the pop music charts. [11] "Kiss of Fire" was adapted from the Argentinian tango El Choclo and the lyrics, arrangement and delivery communicate passion on a Wagnerian scale.

Sultry and throbbing, with a touch of vibrato, Georgia Gibbs' voice is best showcased on romantic ballads and torch songs like "My Melancholy Baby", "I'll Be Seeing You", "Autumn Leaves", and "You Keep Coming Back Like a Song". Yet she could be equally thrilling belting out steaming jazz numbers like "Red Hot Mama", "A-Razz-A-Ma-Tazz"; jiving with tunes like "Ol Man Mose", "Shoo Shoo Baby"; or rocking out with "I Want You to Be My Baby". Her Swingin' With Her Nibs album (1956) demonstrated her natural affinity for improvisation as well.

In 1957, Gibbs signed with RCA Victor [7] going on to chart with over 40 songs before retirement from singing, and was briefly successful doing rock 'n' roll songs as well. Her Mercury record "Silent Lips" was a big hit in Sweden (September 1958-March 1959) peaking at number 5 in the best selling charts, and there were even several Swedish cover versions of that song, "Ingenting" by among others Towa Carson, Lill-Babs and Britt Rylander. Also "The Hula Hoop Song" did well in Sweden (February–March 1959) peaking at number 12. She continued to appear on many television shows including The Ed Sullivan Show , and hosted one of her own, Georgia Gibbs And Her Million Record Show. She cut her final album Call Me, in 1966 and rarely performed after that.

Some notoriety followed Gibbs for her cover versions of music popularized by black performers such as Etta James' "The Wallflower" (recorded by Gibbs with modified lyrics under the title "Dance With Me Henry", the record entered the pop charts on March 26, 1955, an example of the dubious trend known as "whitewashing"), and of LaVern Baker's "Tweedle Dee" (which outsold Baker's version, prompting complaint from Baker), and for her novelty number "The Hula Hoop Song", which was her last hit, in 1958. Decades later Gibbs commented that she, like most artists of the day, had no say in their choice of material and arrangements. A widely told story has LaVern Baker taking out a life insurance policy on herself in advance of a flight to Australia and naming Georgia Gibbs as the beneficiary. "You need this more than I do," Baker is said to have written to Gibbs, "because if anything happens to me, you're out of business."

Personal life

In the late 1950s she married foreign correspondent and author Frank Gervasi, biographer of Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, and whose books include To Whom Palestine?, The Case for Israel, The Real Rockefeller and The Violent Decade. They had first met in Paris in the 1930s, but lost touch with one another for 12 years. The marriage lasted until his death in 1990; they had one child who predeceased Georgia.

Georgia Gibbs died of leukemia on December 9, 2006, aged 87, at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Survivors included grandson Sacha Gervasi (from her husband's previous marriage), her brother Robert Gibson and nieces Patty Turk, [12] Jody (Babydoll) Gibson, [13] and Jody's sister Amy. Gibbs' last interview, conducted by Greg Adams, was subsequently published online. [14]

Legacy

Interest in Gibbs' work has enjoyed a revival with the re-issue on CD of long unavailable material. In her recent book, Great Pretenders: My Strange Love Affair With 50s Pop Music, Newsweek music critic Karen Schoemer wrote: "What really turned me around, though, were her R&B covers ... Georgia was the rare fifties canary with a genuine flair for rock and roll ... by the time I was through listening ... I had a healthy new respect for Georgia, and a sense of indignation over her neglect by critics." [15]

Singles

YearSingle (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart positionsAlbum
US CB US
AC
UK [16]
1947"You Do"
b/w "Feudin' and Fightin'"
Non-album tracks
1950"If I Knew You Were Comin' (I'd've Baked A Cake)"
b/w "Stay With The Happy People" (Non-album track)
5Her Nibs, Georgia Gibbs
"Simple Melody"
b/w "A Little Bit Independent"
Both tracks with Bob Crosby
25Non-album tracks
"Cherry Stones"
b/w "Dream A Little Dream Of Me"
Both sides with Bob Crosby
"Red Hot Mama"
b/w "Razz-A-Ma-Tazz"
Her Nibs, Georgia Gibbs
1951"I Still Feel The Same About You"
b/w "Get Out Those Old Records"
18
"Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White"
b/w "Get Him Off My Hands"
Non-album tracks
"Tom's Tune"
b/w "I Wish, I Wish"
21
"Good Morning, Mr. Echo"
b/w "Be Doggone Sure You Call"
21
"While You Danced, Danced, Danced"
b/w "While We're Young"
6
"Cry"
b/w "My Old Flame"
24
1952"Kiss of Fire"
b/w "A Lasting Thing"
1
"So Madly In Love"
b/w "Make Me Love You"
2122
"Sinner Or Saint" /28
"My Favorite Song"2212
"A Moth and A Flame"
b/w "The Photograph On The Piano"
1953"What Does It Mean To Be Lonely"
b/w "Winter's Here Again"
"Seven Lonely Days"
b/w "If You Take My Heart Away"
59Song Favorites Of Georgia Gibbs
"For Me, For You" /21Non-album tracks
"Thunder and Lightning"20
"Say It Isn't So"
b/w "He's Funny That Way"
Music and Memories
"The Bridge Of Sighs" /30Non-album tracks
"A Home Lovin' Man"30
"Under Paris Skies"
b/w "I Love Paris"
1954"Somebody Bad Stole De Wedding Bell"
b/w "Baubles, Bangles and Beads"
1815
"My Sin"
b/w "I'll Always Be Happy With You" (Non-album tracks)
2127Song Favorites Of Georgia Gibbs
"Wait For Me, Darling"
b/w "Whistle and I'll Dance"
2432Non-album tracks
"The Man That Got Away"
b/w "More Than Ever" (Non-album track)
Music and Memories
"Mambo Baby"
b/w "Love Me" (Non-album track)
41Song Favorites Of Georgia Gibbs
1955"Tweedle Dee"
b/w "You're Wrong, All Wrong" (Non-album track)
2320
"Dance With Me Henry (Wallflower)"
Original B-side: "Ballin' The Jack"
Later B-side: "Every Road Must Have A Turning"
13
"Sweet and Gentle" /128
"Blueberries"45
"I Want You To Be My Baby"
b/w "Come Rain Or Come Shine" (Non-album track)
1413
"Goodbye To Rome (Arrivederci Roma)" /5144Non-album tracks
"24 Hours a Day (365 A Year) [17] "7436
1956"Rock Right"
b/w "The Greatest Thing"
3637
"Kiss Me Another"
b/w "Fool Of The Year"
302724
"Happiness Street"
b/w "Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe" (from Swinging With Her Nibs
2030
"Tra La La"
b/w "Morning, Noon and Night"
2436
1957"Silent Lips"
b/w "Pretty Pretty"
6850
"The Sheik Of Araby"
b/w "I Am A Heart, A Heart, A Heart"
"I'm Walking The Floor Over You"
b/w "Sugar Candy"
92
"Fun Lovin' Baby"
b/w "I Never Had The Blues"
"I Miss You"
b/w "Great Balls Of Fire"
1958"Way Way Down"
b/w "You're Doin' It"
"Hello Happiness, Goodbye Blues"
b/w "It's My Pleasure"
"The Hula Hoop Song"
b/w "Keep In Touch"
3237
1959"The Hucklebuck"
b/w "Better Loved You'll Never Be"
"Pretend"
b/w "Hamburgers, Frankfurters and Potato Chips"
1960"Seven Lonely Days"
b/w "The Stroll That Stole My Heart"
"So In Love"
b/w "Loch Lomond"
Georgia Gibbs
1963"Candy Kisses"
b/w "I Will Follow You"
Georgia Gibbs' Greatest Hits
"Tater Poon"
b/w "Nine Girls Out Of Ten Girls"
Non-album tracks
1964"You Can Never Get Away From Me"
b/w "I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way"
Call Me Georgia Gibbs
1965"Let Me Cry On Your Shoulder"
Original B-side: "You Can Never Get Away From Me"
Later B-side: "Venice Blue (Que C'est Triste Venise)"
13287
"Call Me"
b/w "Don't Cry Joe"
1966"Let Me Dream"
b/w "In Time"
37
"Kiss Of Fire"
b/w "Blue Grass"
1967"Where's The Music Coming From"
b/w "Time Will Tell"
Non-album tracks

Selected records

TV appearances

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 Miller, Stephen (2006-12-12). "Georgia Gibbs, 87, Bubbly Singer in 1940s and 1950s". p. 2. Retrieved 2006-12-12.
  2. Bernstein, Adam (2006-12-12). "Singer Georgia Gibbs, 87; Performed With Big Bands and on Radio Shows". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-12-12.
  3. "Jazz Connection Magazine". Jazzconnectionmag.com. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
  4. Coral Records CRL 57183 Her Nibs Georgia Gibbs liner notes
  5. Simitar Entertainment 56052 Like a Song 1998 CD Compilation liner notes
  6. "THE NOSE KNOWS HER AS "HER NIBS'". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. 12 May 1994.
  7. 1 2 Billboard, 13 April 1957, p.42
  8. Billboard - Google Books. Books.google.ca. 1942-02-21. p. 65. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  9. "The Grammarphobia Blog: Her Nibs, Miss Georgia Gibbs". Grammarphobia.com. 2006-12-14. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
  10. From the Shoulder, Time, July 28, 1952
  11. Billboard - Google Books. Books.google.com. 1952-05-31. p. 26. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  12. "Georgia Gibbs, 87; top pop singer and star of 'Hit Parade'". Los Angeles Times. December 12, 2006.
  13. Los Angeles Magazine Oct. 1999 p. 138
  14. Adams, Greg. "Excerpts from Greg Adams' Final Interview with Georgia Gibbs on July 28, 2006". Eric Records. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
  15. Schoemer, Karen (2006). Great Pretenders: My Strange Love Affair with '50s Pop Music. New York: Free Press. p. 102. ISBN   0743299019 via Google Books.
  16. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 523. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.
  17. http://images.45cat.com/georgia-gibbs-24-hours-a-day-365-a-year-mercury.jpg

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References