Ella Fitzgerald was born Ella Jane Fitzgerald on April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996. She got her start in show business by singing in the Apollo Theater. She won first prize during amateur night. She also performed at the Harlem Opera House. She met bandleader Chick Webb. He was a drummer and bandleader. He wanted a female singer. He didn’t want to sign her at first because he didn’t like the way she looked. He decided to give her an opportunity by letting her sing with his band. She was a hit with the audience and musicians. Chick Webb asked her to join his orchestra.
She recorded several hit songs such as “Love and Kisses” and “(If You Can’t Sing It) You’ll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini).” She wrote and recorded her version of the nursery rhyme “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.” This song got her attention. It was a big hit on the radio and one of the biggest-selling records of the decade. She recorded almost 150 songs with Chick Webb’s Orchestra. She also recorded songs with Benny Goodman’s Orchestra. She recorded songs with different artists such as Louie Armstrong, Duke Ellington, the Ink Spots as well as others.
Ella Fitzgerald released Ella Sings Gershwin in 1950. It features the singles “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “My One and Only,” “Looking for a Boy” and “I’ve Got a Crush on You.” Songs in a Mellow Mood was released in 1954. It features the singles “People Will Say We’re in Love,” “Please Be Kind,” “I’m Glad There Is You” and “Stardust.” Lullabies of Birdland was released in 1955. It features the singles “Angel Eyes,” “How High the Moon,” “Basin Street Blues” and “Lullaby of Birdland.”
For Sentimental Reasons was released in 1955. It features the singles “Guilty,” “It’s Too Soon to Know,” “Mixed Emotions” and “That Old Feeling.” Miss Ella Fitzgerald & Mr Gordon Jenkins Invite You to Listen and Relax was released in 1955. It features the singles “I Wished on the Moon,” “Happy Talk,” “Black Coffee” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.” Sweet and Hot was released in 1955. It features the singles “Thanks for the Memory,” “It Might As Well Be Spring,” “Taking a Chance on Love” and “That Old Black Magic.”
Ella and Louis was released in 1956. It features the singles “Can’t We Be Friends?,” “Moonlight in Vermont,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “A Foggy Day.” Ella and Lous Again was released in 1957. It features the singles “Makin’ Whoopee,” “They All Laughed,” “Comes Love” and “Autumn in New York.” Ella Fitzgerald Sings Sweet Songs for Swingers was released in 1959. It features the singles “East of the Sun (And West of the Moon),” “I Remember You,” “Gone with the Wind” and “Out of This World.”
Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! was released in 1961. It features the singles “You’re My Thrill,” “’Round Midnight,” “Jersey Bounce” and “Cry Me a River.” Rhythm Is My Business was released in 1962. It features the singles “Broadway,” “Runnin’ Wild,” “No Moon at All” and “After You’ve Gone.” Ella Swings Brightly with Nelson was released in 1962. It features the singles “When Your Lover Has Gone,” “Love Me or Leave Me,” “I Hear Music” and “I Only Have Eyes for You.” Ella and Basie! was released in 1963. It features the singles “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall,” “Them There Eyes,” “Dream a Little Dream of Me” and “Satin Doll.”
Things Ain’t What They Used to Be (And You Better Believe It) was released in 1970. It features the singles “Sunny,” “A Man and a Woman,” “Days of Wine and Roses” and “Willow Weep for Me.” Lady Time was released in 1978. It features the singles “All or Nothing at All,” “I Never Had a Chance,” “Since I Fell for You” and “ Mack the Knife.” Fine and Mellow was released in 1979. It features the singles “Fine and Mellow,” “I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You,” “I’m in the Mood for Love,” “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” and “The Man I Love.” Ella Fitzgerald would go on to release several more albums throughout her career.
Ella Fitzgerald may have left us, but her music lives on. She was a popular jazz singer who worked with a lot of artists throughout her career. She had success as a solo artist as well as with other artists. She has had several hit singles throughout her career. She has so many hit songs, but we had to narrow the list down to 10. This Top 10 Ella Fitzgerald Songs list will feature her best songs.
# 10 – Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
The first song on our Top 10 Ella Fitzgerald Songs list is “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” from the Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Rodgers & Hart Song Book album. The song has a jazz beat. The risqué song is about a player who has an affair with a married woman. The song is based on the Broadway musical Pal Joey. This song is from a musical, but it could resonate in real life. People do have affairs so the song is appropriate. You don’t have to watch the play in order to understand the lyrics. If you are in a similar situation, the lyrics will really hit home with you.
Ella Fitzgerald was shy and thought the song would be a challenge for her. She was able to pull off singing the sexy lyrics despite her reservations about singing it. She embraces the lyrics as if she were the character in the song. Her diction was spot on. You can understand every word she says. Her voice is charming and relaxing. Listening to her sing this song is sensational. The musical arrangement is spectacular. The piano supports her voice tremendously. The musicians never try to outshine the great one. They allow her beautiful voice to shine bright like a diamond. Fans of jazz music will love this. You can enjoy this song even if you aren’t a fan of jazz music. The only minor complaint is the song is a little lengthy. The song is over seven minutes long. You do get a chance to hear her for a while, but the track is a little long.
# 9 – Oh, Lady Be Good!
The next song on our Top 10 Ella Fitzgerald Songs list is “Oh, Lady Be Good!” from the Lullabies of Birdland and Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook albums. The song has a jazz beat. The emotional song is about her wanting lady luck to have pity on her. She wants things to be better for herself. Who wouldn’t want things to be better? We have all been there. We have all dealt with one bad thing after another and want things to change. The lyrics are relatable to anyone who has felt the same way Ella Fitzgerald did in this song.
There are two versions of this song. One is a ballad and the other has tempo. The version with tempo made her known for her scatting ability. This version mostly features her scatting. It showcases how talented she is and how she is able to scat with ease. You may not be able to understand everything she is saying, but she sounds cool doing it. You can also dance to that track because the song is up-tempo.
The other version of the song is a ballad. It is more emotional than the up-tempo version. You get the chance to focus on her singing. She doesn’t scat in the ballad. The ballad has orchestral swells and a big band sound. The musicians pull back to allow her to shine vocally. She sings this song with warmth and class. You may enjoy both versions of the song. They are different from each other, but they are both very good.
# 8 – Misty Blue
The metaphoric song is from the album of the same name. The song has a jazz beat. The personal song is about a woman who can’t get a man out of her head. She wants to get over him, but she can’t because she is still in love with him. The song is about love and regret. Who hasn’t been in a situation where they wanted to get someone off of their mind once the relationship is over? We have all felt this way before. The lyrics are familiar territory for almost everyone. At some point in your life, you have heard a song with this theme. Ella Fitzgerald managed to make it sound fresh.
This song has been covered a lot by many artists. Ella Fitzgerald put her own spin to the track. Her version has tempo. It has a jazz mixed with country sound to it. The musical arrangement is out of this world. It caters to Ella Fitzgerald’s voice. Ella Fitzgerald sings this song with ease. She sings it with a lot of heart and soul. She is convincing as she sings about not being able to get over the person she loves. She manages to make the song her own despite the many different versions of the song. This version is just as enjoyable as the other versions of this song. If you are a fan of Ella Fitzgerald’s music, it is worth checking out.
# 7 – Mack the Knife
The unusual song is from the Ella in Berlin: Mack the Knife and Lady Time albums. The song has a jazz beat. The cryptic song is about a cold-blooded killer. It is not every day you hear a song about a serial killer. It is an unusual subject to talk about, but she was able to pull it off. This is another song that has been covered by different artists. Ella Fitzgerald made this song her own. She is so engaging with the song that you can easily forget what it is about. She makes it seem as if it is normal to sing a song about a serial killer.
The music is uplifting. It has orchestral swells to give it a big band sound. Ella Fitzgerald’s vocals are strong enough that she was able to keep up with the beat changes. She shows professionalism when she forgets the lyrics to the song. She keeps going even though she forgets the lyrics. Any other artist might not have been able to improvise and keep going the way she did. They may not have been able to remain professional. She doesn’t miss a beat even when she clearly forgets the lyrics. This is a tell to how great of a singer she is. She imitates Louis Armstrong and nails the impersonation. She tries her hand at scatting a little in the song which she does effortlessly.
# 6 – Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall ft. Billy Kenny and Ella Fitzgerald
The reflective song is from the Ink Spots album The Ink Spots in Hi-Fi. The song has a jazz beat. The painful song is about experiencing heartache at some point in your life. Things can’t always be good in your life. At some point you will know what it is like to experience pain. This cautionary tale is informing you that you will experience heartache in your life. It may sound like they are being negative, but it is a realistic statement. Everyone wishes for a perfect life, but it doesn’t always happen that way. When life gets you down in one way or another, this song is perfect to listen to. The song will let you know that it is okay to be vulnerable. It also lets you know that the pain will eventually fade away. It was a nice touch for the songwriter to let you know that you will be dealing with heartbreak, but things can get better.
The music is soft and mellow. It has a little tempo so you can move around to it. The music is surprisingly upbeat considering what it is about. Billy Kenny and Ella Fitzgerald do an amazing job together. His vocals blend well with the music as well as with Ella Fitzgerald. Ella Fitzgerald sounds different in this track. She sings this in her upper register. Her vocals are so soothing that you can get lost listening to her while she is singing. Her phrasing is impeccable. You can hear every word she says with ease. The song does have a spoken word part that could have been omitted. It’s not that long, but it wasn’t needed.
# 5 – But Not For Me
The next song on our Top 10 Ella Fitzgerald Songs list is “But Not For Me” from the Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook. The song has a jazz beat. The somber song is about a woman who feels that she will never find love. She sees that other people are falling in love, but it’s not for her. She thinks that everyone is lucky but not her. It is hard to watch people in love when you can’t find it. This song describes how it feels to watch other people fall in love while you are alone. Ella Fitzgerald won a Grammy Award for her rendition of the song.
Several artists have covered this song in the past. This is the type of song that will never get old. This version is a beautiful interpretation of the track. Ella Fitzgerald did something special to it. Her vocals are phenomenal. She sings the song as if she was the one who originated it. Her voice is as pure as silk. She recites every line with ease. She doesn’t shout in the song. She keeps the song soft and smooth. She has all the right emotions to make the song work. Her beautiful voice will make you tear up just listening to her. The musical arrangement will touch your soul. There is no way not to be emotional after listening to it.
# 4 – All The Things You Are
The romantic song is from the Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Jerome Kern Songbook. The song has a jazz beat. The warm song is about love. She talks about all the things she loves about the man she loves. The lyrics will hit home if you are in love with someone. You can play this song for the person you love and they are guaranteed to melt. This is the type of song that will make you believe in love. If you have given up on falling in love, you should let Ella Fitzgerald convince you not to do it. This will make the perfect song to dance to at a wedding. Many artists including Michael Jackson covered this song.
This song has everything it needs to succeed. It has the classic big band sound. It features the swinging drums. The hypnotic brass section comes in and out of the song. The horn section is fire. Ella Fitzgerald does a flawless job on this song. She delivers in her classy and jazzy way. She does an incredible rendition of the song. She takes her time with the lyrics. She has amazing pacing. She sings in different registers in this track. Her voice sounds pretty. She sings in time with every musical change without missing a note. Her breathtaking voice is simply the best. Listening to her voice will give you chills. She is so talented that she can sing the alphabet and make it sound beautiful.
# 3 – A-Tisket, A-Tasket
The catchy song is a song she recorded with the Chick Webb Orchestra. The song has a jazz and standard beat. The energetic song is based on a nursery rhyme. Here is a fun fact about the song. She played the game and wanted to do a rendition of the song. She changed some of the lyrics to the nursery rhyme. This song is definitely unique. There aren’t too many songs that are based on a nursery rhyme or a game. She made the right decision to record this song because it went on to sell a lot of copies. The song was on the charts for several weeks.
This is a novelty song that isn’t meant to be taken seriously. It is the type of song that will put a smile on your face. You shouldn’t look for deep and meaningful lyrics with this track. It has everything it needs to succeed musically. The beat is rhythmic and infectious and will have you out of your seat. The catchy beat will stay in your head. The horn section is the standout instrument in the track. Ella Fitzgerald sounds incredible in this song. She was a teenager when she recorded this song, but she sounds as if she was singing for years. She was a true professional even as a teenager. With a voice like that, she was destined for stardom.
# 2 – Cheek to Cheek ft. Louis Armstrong
The loving song is from the Ella and Louis album. The song has a jazz beat. The romantic song is about dancing closely with the person you love. This song is a wonderful choice for couples who enjoy dancing together. When you dance close, you dance cheek to cheek. If you’re not in a relationship, the song may not have the same meaning for you. This will make an excellent wedding song because the couple may want to dance all night long. There is nothing more romantic than your partner feeling like they are in heaven by being in your arms. The words are sweet without being corny. You would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the loving lyrics.
The music is soft and romantic. It will put you in a romantic mood. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sound great together. His raspy and deep vocals are a great match for her. She sings this in a lower register. She is trying to match him vocally by coming down an octave. They both get equal time to shine in the song. Her voice is so angelic that it makes you feel as if you are in heaven listening to her sing. Her phrasing is flawless as usual. They have a vocal battle with each other towards the end of the song. We will give the win to Ella Fitzgerald because her vocals are spot on.
# 1 – Dream a Little Dream of Me
The number one song on our Top 10 Ella Fitzgerald Songs list is “Dream a Little Dream of Me” from the Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong Vol. 2. The song has a jazz beat. The earnest song is about falling in love. It is about wanting your lover to dream about you. The song was given new life when it was on the show Stranger Things. It was recorded many years ago, but it is still appreciated today. People fall in love all the time so this song will always resonate with people. Love is a subject that never gets old and neither will this song.
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s voices compliment each other very well. Her impeccable phrasing and his growl are perfect together. They do vocal tricks throughout the song. She tries her hand at scatting while he is singing which is masterful. They have incredible timing with each other in order to pull it off. It sounds like it was an effortless trick, but it probably took a lot of work to do it. Their vocals are fierce and tight. It would be hard to picture anyone else singing this song after what they did to it. There are other versions of this song recorded, but this is subjectively one of the best versions of this song. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong will give you goosebumps while you hear them singing the song. It was a hard choice, but this song deserves to be number one on our list.
Top 10 Ella Fitzgerald Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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