Adelaide Hall was an American-born jazz vocalist and entertainer who spent the majority of her life in the United Kingdom. From 1921 to 1993, she had a spectacular career spanning more than seven decades. She was a scat-singing pioneer and a key player in the Harlem Renaissance.
She also collaborated with some of her generation’s most prominent musicians, including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Fats Waller. Adelaide Hall’s wiki, age, biography, husband, cause of death, and children are all listed below.
Adelaide Hall Death Cause And Personal Life
From 1924 until his death in 1963, Adelaide Hall was married to Bertram Errol Hicks. They had no biological children, but in 1951 they adopted a daughter named Francesca. Francesca went on to become a singer and actor.
Adelaide Hall died in the early morning hours of November 7, 1993, at her London residence. She was 92 years old at the time. Her ashes were strewn in the English Channel after she was cremated.
Adelaide Hall born #OTD 20 Oct 1901, Brooklyn, NYC. She lived in the UK for most of her life (Fulham area) and was a star of jazz, radio, musicals, ENSA and #Variety with a career spanning seven decades #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/xtnoBoZn0l
— BritishMusicHallSoc (@musichallsoc) October 20, 2021
Adelaide Hall Early Life and Influences
Adelaide Hall was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 20, 1901, to Elizabeth and William Hall. She was the only daughter and the youngest of five children. Her parents were both clarinet and flute players, and her ancestors were Polish immigrants.
She was raised in a strict Catholic family in a working-class neighborhood. Her education began at Corpus Christi Grammar School and continued at McKinley Vocational High School.
Adelaide Hall was influenced by bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Clash, The Ramones, and The Replacements when she was a child. She began playing the guitar at the age of ten, after getting one as a present from her older sisters. She also sang in the church choir and was a member of several bands with her pals.
When Adelaide Hall was a teenager, she experienced a string of misfortunes. Her father died at the age of 15 from a diabetic coma, and her mother died at the age of 16 from a heart attack. Her four sisters and cousin, John Guljas, reared her with the support of Social Security funds. When she was 17, she left her family home and rented her own apartment.
Adelaide Hall attended Buffalo State College for a year before dropping out to pursue her musical career. She supported herself by working as a dishwasher, a plumber’s assistant, a gas station attendant, and a barista.
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Adelaide Hall Music Career
Adelaide Hall began her musical career on Broadway in 1921 as a member of the chorus line in Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake’s musical Shuffle Along, which became a great smash and catapulted Hall’s career. She went on to appear in a number of similar black musical plays, including Broadway’s Runnin’ Wild in 1923, in which she sang James P. Johnson’s popular song “Old-Fashioned Love.”
Hall toured Europe in 1925 with the show Chocolate Kiddies, which featured songs penned by Duke Ellington. The event introduced European audiences to New York’s black entertainment scene. During her trip to Germany, Hall performed at Berlin’s legendary transgender bar, the Eldorado Café.
In 1926, Hall returned to New York and joined the ensemble of Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields’ Blackbirds of 1926. The play was a hit, and it moved to London in 1927. After the event, Hall opted to stay in London and became a star of the British music industry.
In 1927, Hall recorded “Creole Love Call” with Duke Ellington and his Orchestra. Hall’s wordless vocal improvisation, known as scat singing, was utilized in the song. The song became a hit, establishing Hall as one of the leading jazz singers of her generation.
Hall performed in the first British musical film, Elstree Calling, in 1930, showcasing her singing and dancing abilities. She also starred in A Honeymoon Adventure (1931) and Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round (1934).
Hall relocated to Paris in 1935 with her husband, Bertram Errol Hicks, whom she married in 1924. Hall’s business manager was Hicks, a British sailor from Trinidad and Tobago. They opened La Grosse Pomme (The Big Apple) in Montmartre, where Hall played on a regular basis.
Following the onset of World War II, Hall returned to London in 1938. She became active in a variety of war-related activities, including entertaining troops, raising funds for charities, and broadcasting for the BBC.She also recorded “I’m Gonna Lock My Heart” in 1938, “Deep Purple” in 1939, and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” in 1940.
Following the war, Hall continued to perform and record in the United Kingdom and Europe. She also made appearances in Africa, Australia, and Asia.She worked alongside Fats Waller, Art Tatum, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and Fela Sowande, among others.She also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1951, The Tonight Show in 1962, and The Muppet Show in 1978.
Hall celebrated her 82nd birthday in 1983 with a concert in London’s Royal Festival Hall, which was attended by celebrities like Elton John, Mick Jagger, and Diana Ross. She was also honored by the Queen of England for her contribution to British culture.
Adelaide Hall with the Alex Welsh Band, released in 1988, contained songs such as “Georgia on My Mind”, “Stardust”, and “As Time Goes By”. She also appeared at the Welsh Brecon Jazz Festival.
Legacy and Honors
Adelaide Hall was one of the 20th century’s most influential jazz vocalists and entertainers. She was a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance and a pioneer of scat singing. She also collaborated with Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Fats Waller, three of the most influential musicians of her era.
During her lifetime and after her passing, Adelaide Hall was honored with numerous awards and accolades. These are just a few:
- She was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Hartford in Connecticut in 1984.
- She was awarded the renowned Eubie Blake Award by the New York chapter of the National Association of Negro Musicians in 1987.
- The Lord Mayor of London bestowed upon her the Freedom of the City of London accolade in 1990.
- The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences honored her with a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.
- She was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003 as the world’s most enduring recording artist, having released work for eight decades in a row.
- She was recognized with a blue plaque at her former house in Hampstead, London, in 2014.
- On her 116th birthday in 2017, she was recognized with a Google Doodle.
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