born on 20/10/1901 in Brooklin, NY, United States
died on 7/11/1993 in London, England, United Kingdom
Adelaide Louise Hall (20 October 1901 – 7 November 1993) was an American-born U.K.-based jazz singer and entertainer. Her career spanned more than seventy years from 1921 until her death and she was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance.
Adelaide was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Elizabeth and Arthur William Hall and was taught to sing by her father. She began her stage career in 1921 on Broadway in the chorus line of the Broadway musical Shuffle Along and went on to appear in a number of similar black musical shows including Runnin' Wild on Broadway in 1923, Chocolate Kiddies in 1925 (European tour) that included songs written by Duke Ellington, My Magnolia on Broadway in 1926, Tan Town Topics with songs written by Fats Waller and in Desires of 1927 (American tour in 1927).
In 1924, Hall married a British sailor born in Trinidad, Bertram Errol Hicks. Soon after their marriage he opened a short-lived club in Harlem, New York, called The Big Apple and became her official business manager.
Adelaide Hall and Duke Ellington
In October 1927, Hall recorded her wordless vocals on "Creole Love Call", "The Blues I Love To Sing" and "Chicago Stomp Down" with Duke Ellington and his Orchestra. The recordings were worldwide hits and catapulted both Hall's and Ellington's careers into the mainstream. On 4 December 1927, Duke Ellington and his Orchestra commenced their residency at Harlem's Cotton Club in a revue called 'Rhythmania'. The show featured Hall singing 'Creole Love Call'. On January 7, 1933, Hall and Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra recorded "I Must Have That Man" and "Baby".
Blackbirds of 1928
In 1928, Hall starred on Broadway with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in Blackbirds of 1928. The show became the most successful all-black show ever staged on Broadway at that time and made Hall and Bojangles into household names. Blackbirds of 1928 was the idea of impresario Lew Leslie, who planned to build the show around Florence Mills in New York after her success in the hit show Blackbirds in London in 1926, but she died of pneumonia in 1927 before rehearsals started. Hall was chosen to replace her. The revue originally opened at Les Ambassadeurs Club in New York in January 1928, under the title Blackbird Revue, but in May 1928 it transferred to Broadway's Liberty Theatre (New York City) and was re-titled Blackbirds of 1928, where it ran for 518 performances. After a slow start, the show became the hit of the season. Hall's performance of Diga Diga Do, created a sensation. Her mother was so incensed when she went to see the show by her daughter doing what she termed risqué dance moves, she tried to stop the show during Adelaide's performance. It was this musical that secured Hall's success both in the U.S.A. and in Europe when the production was taken to Paris, France, in 1929, where it ran for three months at the Moulin Rouge. In Europe Adelaide rivalled Josephine Baker for popularity on the European stage. With music by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, it included performances by Hall of the hit songs "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby", "Diga Diga Do", and "I Must Have That Man", which continued to be audience favourites throughout her career.
1930 - Brown Buddies
In 1930, Adelaide Hall and Bojangles starred together at New York's Palace Theatre on Broadway for one week. So successful was Hall's collaboration with Bojangles, in 1930 they were teamed up together again, this time by Marty Forkins (Bojangles manager) to star in another Broadway musical entitled Brown Buddies that opened on Broadway at the Liberty Theatre (New York City), where it ran for four months before commencing a road tour of the States. Dubbed by the press "a musical comedy in sepia", the core of the music was composed by Millard Thomas, but also featured songs composed by Shelton Brooks, Ned Reed, Porter Grainger, J. C. Johnson, J. Rosamund Johnson, George A. Little, Arthur Sizemore and Edward G. Nelson. After an out of town try-out, the musical opened on 7 October at the Liberty Theatre (New York City) and ran a fairly solid run of 111 performances until 10 January 1931.
1931/32 World concert tour
In 1931, Hall embarked on a world concert tour that visited two continents (America and Europe). The tour was estimated to have performed to over one million people. During the tour she appeared four times at New York's Palace Theatre (Broadway). She was accompanied on stage by two pianists who played white grand pianos. It was during this tour that Hall discovered and employed the blind pianist Art Tatum, whom she brought back to New York with her at the end of the tour. In August 1932, Hall recorded "Strange as it Seems", "I'll Never Be The Same", "This Time it's Love" and "You Gave Me Everything but Love" using Art Tatum as one of her pianists on the recordings.
1933 American tour
ADELAIDE HALL TO TOUR THE COAST (Pittsburgh Courier headline) July 22, 1933
Her itinerary included all the principal cities and lasted thirty weeks
1933 World Fair City, Chicago
Extract from the Pittsburgh Courier, August 19, 1933
Miss Adelaide Hall Captures The World Fair City and They Like It
"Miss Adelaide Hall, the darling girl with the guitar and the mellifluent voice, again stole into the callous hearts of an analytical public at the Regal theater last week. She charmed them with her voice, her poise and beauty. She has a style of singing 'Stormy Weather' all her own. Chicago belonged to Adelaide for one whole week. And her Majesty Feigned supreme, Jules Bledsoe."
1933 Stormy Weather revue
"STORMY WEATHER" REVUE starring ADELAIDE HALL
NEW YORK, November 29, 1933. "Although crippled from a fall into a manhole while appearing in Boston the week previous to her New York engagement, Adelaide Hall, scintillating star of the 'Stormy Weather' revue, limps across the stage ahead of an array of stars, which go far to label this revue, about the finest to grace the boards."
1934 Apollo Theatre, Harlem - Chocolate Soldiers revue
"CHOCOLATE SOLDIERS" opens at the new Apollo Theatre, Harlem, starring ADELAIDE HALL
Harlem, New York, February 14, 1934: Chocolate Soldiers, a production featuring Adelaide Hall and the Sam Wooding Orchestra, opened at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. The show was produced by Clarence Robinson and garnered great attention and acclaim and helped establish the recently opened Apollo as Harlem's premier theatre.
The Cotton Club Parade, 1934
In 1934 Hall starred for nine months in The Cotton Club Parade 24th Edition, at Harlem's Cotton Club (New York City) in the largest grossing show that was ever staged there. In the show she introduced the songs "Ill Wind" and "As Long As I Live", which Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler wrote especially for her.
European career 1935-38
Hall arrived in Paris, France, in the fall of 1935 and remained living there until 1938. Her husband Bert opened a nightclub for her in Paris called "La Grosse Pomme" where she frequently entertained. The Quintette du Hot Club de France, starring Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, were one of the house bands at the club. At the start of 1936, Hall starred in the Black and White Revue. The show of fifty performers opened in Paris, France. In February, 1936, the production travelled to Switzerland for a tour. The revue was produced by Ralph Clayton, staged by Arthur Bradley and choreographed by ballet master Albert Gaubier and the orchestra was directed by Henry Crowder.
British career 1938-93
After many years performing in the U.S.A. and Europe, Hall went to the United Kingdom in 1938 in order to take a starring role in a musical version of Edgar Wallace's The Sun Never Sets at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. She was so successful, and became so popular with British audiences, she stayed and made her home there, becoming one of the most popular singers and entertainers of the time. She lived in London from 1938 until her death. On the 28 August 1938, Hall recorded "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" and "That Old Feeling" with Fats Waller at London's Abbey Road Studios released on HMV Records OEA6391 and on September 10, 1938, appeared in Broadcast To America with Fats Waller at London's St George's Hall in a live transatlantic radio broadcast.
Hall's career was almost an uninterrupted success. She made over seventy records for Decca, had her own radio series (the first black artist to have a long-term contract with the BBC), and appeared on the stage, in films, and in nightclubs (of which she owned her own, in New York, London and Paris). In the 1940s, and especially during World War II, she was hugely popular with both civilian and ENSA audiences and became one of the highest paid entertainers in the country (despite the destruction in an air raid of the London nightclub owned by her and her husband, the Florida Club). Hall has a cameo appearance as a singer in the 1940 Oscar-winning movie The Thief of Bagdad.
On 6 June 1944, Hall's recording of "There Goes That Song Again" entered the BBC British Record Chart at number 15.
Hall appears in the earliest post-war BBC telerecording; a record of her performance at RadiOlympia in October 1947.
In 1948, Hall appeared in a film called A World is Turning, intended to highlight the contribution of black men and women to British society at a time when they were struggling for visibility on our screens. Filming appears to have been halted due to the director's illness and only six reels of rushes remain, including scenes of Hall rehearsing songs such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "The Gospel Train" (a traditional African-American spiritual first published in 1872 as one of the songs of the Fisk Jubilee Singers).
In 1951, Hall appeared as a guest in the music spot on the first ever British comedy series, entitled How Do You View, starring Terry-Thomas and written by Sid Colin and Talbot Rothwell. On 29 October 1951, Hall appeared on the bill of the Royal Variety Performance at London's Victoria Palace Theatre held in the presence of Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. In the early 1950s, Hall and her husband Bert opened the Calypso Club in Regent Street, London, and Royalty flocked there. It was reported in the press Princess Elizabeth was a frequent visitor and that Adelaide had taught Princess Elizabeth the Charleston (dance).
During an extremely long career spanning eight decades (Hall entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's most enduring recording artist), Hall performed with major artists such as Art Tatum Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Fela Sowande and Jools Holland, and has recorded as a jazz singer with Duke Ellington (with whom she made her most famous recording, "Creole Love Call" in 1927) and with Fats Waller.
Hall appeared in the 1951 London run of Kiss Me, Kate playing the role of Hattie, singing Cole Porter's "Another Op'nin', Another Show", and in the 1952 London musical Love From Judy playing the role of Butterfly, singing "A Touch of Voodoo", "Kind to Animals" and "Ain't Gonna Marry". In 1957, at the request of Lena Horne, Hall returned to America to appear with Lena in the musical Jamaica. The world premiere of Jamaica took place in Philadelphia in September 1957 and transferred to Broadway on 31 October. In 1958, Adelaide was cast as one of the lead characters in Rodgers and Hammerstein's new musical Flower Drum Song, but she left the cast before the musical opened and returned to the U.K.
In 196970, Hall made two jazz recordings with Humphrey Lyttelton. This was followed by theatre tours and concert appearances; she sang at Duke Ellington's memorial service at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 1974. On 4 January 1974, she appeared on the British TV shows Looks Familiar and What Is Jazz, with Humphrey Lyttelton. On 15 June 1976, she appeared on British TV in It Don't Mean a Thing. and in 1981 appeared on the Michael Parkinson BBC TV show Parkinson. In 1983, Hall appeared in the TV documentary The Sacred Music of Duke Ellington, a recording of a live concert of sacred music by Duke Ellington held in St. Paul's Cathedral. Artists also taking part included Tony Bennett, Phyllis Hyman, Jacques Loussier and Wayne Sleep with the New Swingle Singers.
In 1985, she appeared on British TV in the cast of, Omnibus: The Cotton Club comes to the Ritz, a TV documentary in which some of the performers from Harlem's Cotton Club perform at the Ritz Hotel in London with contemporary musicians.
In October 1988, Hall presented a one-woman show at Carnegie Hall. She presented the same show in London at the Kings Head (Islington) during December 1988. She is one of the very few performers to have made two guest appearances (2 December 1972 and 13 January 1991) on the BBC's radio programme Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4.
In 1990, Hall starred in the movie called Sophisticated Lady, a documentary about the singer with a performance of her in concert recorded live at the Riverside Studios in London. Her final U.S. concert appearances took place in 1992 at Carnegie Hall, in the Cabaret Comes to Carnegie series.
Adelaide Hall was one of the major entertainers of the Harlem Renaissance. Along with Louis Armstrong, she pioneered scat singing and is widely acknowledged as one of the worlds first jazz singers. Indeed, Ella Fitzgerald regarded her as such. Hall was the first female vocalist to sing and record with Duke Ellington. She holds the accolade of being the twentieth century's most enduring female recording artist, her recording career having spanned eight decades. In 1941, Hall replaced Gracie Fields as Britain's highest paid female entertainer. Hall was loosely portrayed as the nightclub chanteuse in the Francis Ford Coppola 1984 movie The Cotton Club. It was Hall's husband, Bert Hicks, who suggested to Eric Bartholomew's mother that he should change his stage name to Morecambe, after the place of her son's birth, thereby christening the British comic duo Morecambe and Wise.
Underneath a Harlem Moon, 2013
During 2013, British singer Laura Mvula revealed in a Blues and Soul interview with assistant editor Pete Lewis that her song "Sing to the Moon" (from her hit debut album Sing to the Moon, RCA/Sony Music) was inspired by the biography of Adelaide Hall by Iain Cameron Williams entitled Underneath a Harlem Moon: The Harlem to Paris Years of Adelaide Hall (2003):
- Well, the actual song 'Sing To The Moon' came from a time when I was reading a book called Underneath a Harlem Moon, which is a biography of a jazz singer called Adelaide Hall, which is basically all about how she kind of was overlooked, or probably didnt get the recognition she perhaps deserved. Plus it also talks about how shed had a hard time growing up, because her sister - who she was very close to - had died tragically of an illness.... So anyway, theres a point in the story where she describes her close relationship with her father, which I think kind of resonated with me - where she talks about the conversations she had with him and how he used to say to her randomly Sing to the moon and the stars will shine, which kind of became her thing really that she just took with her everywhere.... And I dont know why, but for some reason it just struck some kind of chord with me - you know, it was just something I seemed to connect with at that time. And so because of that, it then became a saying that I liked to use myself.... So yeah, because its become something I personally like to express, I just thought 'Sing To The Moon' would also make a good title for the album as a whole.
After Midnight, Broadway musical 2013/14
AFTER MIDNIGHT - Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York, NY. A new musical revue After Midnight featuring the classic music of Duke Ellington, Dorothy Fields & Jimmy McHugh, and Harold Arlen premiered to much praise at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York on 3 November 2013 and is presently booking through to 31 August 2014 The show is an idealized fantasy of Harlem in its 1920s/30s heyday and salutes the black musicians and performers such as Ethel Waters, Adelaide Hall, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington and the Nicholas Brothers who became international stars during that era. At least three of the songs that Adelaide Hall introduced to the world are performed in the show including the headliner Fantasia Barrinos rendition of "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" and Carmen Ruby Floyd's performance of Duke Ellingtons and Adelaide Hall's Creole Love Call. The song Diga Diga Do also appears in the show.
A Nite at the Cotton Club, 2014
A new stage show, 'A Nite at the Cotton Club' produced by Lydia Dillingham opened at the Southern Broadway Diner Theatre at The Historic Hildreth Brothers Building in Alabama, USA in February 2014 in which the actress Brandy Davis portrays Adelaide Hall. The entire run sold out. 
1927 - 1938
|Songs||Label & Number||Date||Artist|
|"Creole Love Call" / "The Blues I Love to Sing"||BVE-39370-1/ BVE-39371-1 Victor Records||(26 October 1927) (Recorded Victor Studio #1, Camden, NJ )||Duke Ellington Orchestra (with vocals by Adelaide Hall)|
|"I Must Have That Man" / "Baby"||BVE-Test-110||(21 June 1928) (Recorded in New York)||Adelaide Hall with piano acc. by George Rickman|
|"Chicago Stomp Down"||W81777-A / W81777-B / W81777-C Columbia Records||(3 November 1927) (Recorded OKeh session, Union Square, New York City)||Duke Ellington Orchestra (with vocals by Adelaide Hall)|
|"I Must Have That Man" / "Baby"||E-28059 / E-28060 Brunswick 4031||(14 August 1928) (Recorded in New York)||Adelaide Hall acc. by Lew Leslies Blackbirds Orchestra|
|"Rhapsody In Love" / "Minnie The Moocher"||R-218 / R-221 Brunswick||(October 1931) (Recorded in London, UK)||Adelaide Hall with piano acc. by Francis J. Carter and Bennie Paine|
|"Too Darn Fickle" / "I Got Rhythm"||R-225 / R-229||(October 1931) (Recorded in London, UK)||Adelaide Hall with piano acc. by Francis J. Carter and Bennie Paine|
|"Baby Mine" / "I'm Redhot From Harlem"||R-230 / R-232||(October 1931) (Recorded in London, UK)||Adelaide Hall with piano acc. by Francis J. Carter and Bennie Paine|
|"Strange As It Seems" / "Ill Never Be The Same"||Br 6373 / Br6362 Brunswick||(5 August 1932) (Recorded in New York)||Adelaide Hall with orchestra acc.|
|"You Gave Me Everything but Love" / "This Time Its Love"||B-12166-A / B-12167-A Brunswick||(10 August 1932) (Recorded in New York)||Adelaide Hall with piano acc. by Francis J. Carter and Art Tatum|
|"I Must Have That Man" / "Baby"||B-12773-B / B-12774-B CBS||(21 December 1932) (Recorded ARC session, New York City)||Adelaide Hall with Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra|
|"I Must Have That Man" / "Baby"||B-12773-C / B-12774-C Brunswick||(7 January 1933) (Recorded Arc session, New York City)||Adelaide Hall with Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra|
|"Drop Me Off In Harlem" / "Reaching For The Cotton Moon"||BS-78827-1-2 / BS-78828-1-2-3 Victor||(4 December 1933)||Adelaide Hall with Mills Blue Rhythm Band|
|"There's a Lull in my Life" / "Medley"||K-6001 / K-6001 D-599 Tono (Copenhagen, Denmark)||(December 1937)||Adelaide Hall with the Kai Ewans Orchestra|
|"Stormy Weather" / "Where or When"||K-6002 / K-6002 Tono (Copenhagen, Denmark)||(December 1937)||Adelaide Hall with the Kai Ewans Orchestra |
|"That old Feeling" / "I Can't Give You Anything but Love"||HMV (EMI Records)||(28 August 1938) (Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London, UK)||Adelaide Hall with organ acc. by Fats Waller|
The Decca Years 1939 - 1945
|Songs||Label & Number||Release Date|
|I Have Eyes / I Promise You||Decca F-7049||(27 April 1939)|
|Deep Purple / Solitude||Decca F-7083||(15 May 1939)|
|A New Moon and an Old Serenade / Our Love||Decca F-7095||(6 June 1939)|
|Dont Worry Bout Me / Taint What You Do||Decca F-7121||(23 June 1939)|
|Transatlantic Lullaby / I Get Along Without You Very Well||Decca F-7132||(26 July 1939)|
|Moon Love / Yours For a Song||Decca F-7272||(17 October 1939)|
|Day In, Day Out/ I Poured My Heart Into a Song||Decca F-7304||(8 Nov.1939)|
|My Heart Belongs to Daddy / Have You Met Miss Jones?||Decca F-7305||(8 November 1939)|
|Serenade In Love / Fare Thee Well||Decca F-7340||(27 December 1939)|
|Where or When / The Lady is a Tramp||Decca F-7345||(19 January 1940)|
|Careless / Dont Make Me Laugh||Decca F-7340||(11 March 1940)|
|Chloe / Begin the Beguine||Decca F-7460||(15 April 1940)|
|This Cant be Love / No Souvenirs||Decca F-7501||(3 May 1940)|
|Who Told You I Cared? / Shake Down the Stars||Decca F-7522||(31 May 1940)|
|Mist On The River / Fools Rush In||Decca F-7583||(15 August 1940)|
|All The Things You Are / I Wanna Be Loved||Decca F-7636||(9 Oct.1940)|
|Goodnight Again / Trade Winds||Decca F-7678||(12 December 1940)|
|Our Love Affair / And So Do I||Decca F-7681||(12 December 1940)|
|Moon For Sale / Yesterdays Dreams||Decca F-7708||(7 February 1941)|
|Aint it a Shame About Mame? / Room Five Hundred and Four||Decca F-7709||(7 February 1941)|
|Its Always You / How Did He Look?||Decca F-7879||(23 May 1941)|
|Yes, My Darling Daughter / The Things I Love||Decca F-7891||(23 May 1941)|
|I Hear A Rhapsody / Mississippi Mama||Decca F-7918||(3 July 1941)|
|I Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much) / Moonlight in Mexico||Decca F-7942||(7 August 1941)|
|As If You Didnt Know / I Take To You||Decca F-8030||(5 November 1941)|
|Minnie From Trinidad / Sand in my Shoes||Decca F-8031||(5 November 1941)|
|Song of the Islands / Pagan Love Song||Decca F-8058||(7 November 1941)|
|I Dont Want to Set the World on Fire / My Sister and I||Decca F-8043||(18 November 1941)|
|A Sinner Kissed an Angel / Why Dont We Do This More Often?||Decca F-8092||(2 February 1942)|
|Tropical Magic / Intermezzo||Decca F-8118||(2 February 1942)|
|My Devotion / Sharing it all With You||Decca F-8263||(January 1943)|
|Lets Get Lost / As Time Goes By||Decca F-8292||(1943)|
|I Dont Want Anybody at All (If I Cant Have You) / I Heard You Cried Last Night||Decca F-8362||(6 September 1943)|
|Sophisticated Lady / Im getting Sentimental Over You||Decca F-8467||(4 August 1944)|
|There Goes That Song Again / Im Gonna Love That Guy||Decca F-8517||(3 March 1945)|
Odeon (Argentina) 1943
|Songs||Label & Number||Release Date|
|Segun Pasan Los Anos (As Time Goes By) / Vamos a Perdernos (Let's Get Lost)||Odeon DR-7240/7239||(1943)|
Columbia (EMI) - 1951
|Songs||Label & Number||Date||Artist|
|"Can't Help Loving That Man Of Mine" / "Bill"||Columbia Gramophone Co. (EMI Records)||(11 July 1951) (Recorded in London, UK)||Adelaide Hall|
|"How Many Times" / "Vanity"||Columbia Gramophone Co. (EMI Records)||(11 July 1951) (Recorded in London, UK)||Adelaide Hall|
Oriole - 1960
|Songs||Label & Number||Date||Artist|
|"Bluebird on my Shoulder" / "Common Sense" ||Oriole (CB 1556)||(May 1960) (Recorded in London, UK) ||Adelaide Hall|
|1970||Hall of Fame||Columbia||B00BTZHK44|
|1976||Hall of Ellington||Columbia||B00BTZ9RPE|
|1980||There Goes That Song Again||Decca RFL73|
|1998||As Time Goes By||Happy Days||B000025W0L|
|1990||I Touched a Star||Toro||B0057POL5S|
|1990||Hall of Memories||Conifer Records||B003BFC94Q|
|1992||Hall of Fame (reissue)||Living Era||B000001HH1|
|1992||Crooning Blackbird||Jazz Archives||B000027ZPN|
|1994||Adelaide Hall - Red Hot from Harlem||Flapper||B000008B4V|
|2002||A Centenary Celebration||Avid||B00005RTCY|
|2008||Adelaide Hall Live at the Riverside Studios (soundtrack)||TER / That's Entertainment||B000003QU1|
|2011||Shooting High||Cherished Recordings||B006P6I5EQ|
|2011||The Enduring Charm of Adelaide Hall: Original Recordings 1927-1944||Bygone Days||B005T1YAOW|
|2012||The Adelaide Hall Collection 1927 1960||Acrobat||B009H43URU|
|2013||Best of Adelaide Hall||Bringins Music||23 April 2013 |
Compilation albums that include Adelaide Hall: