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|Birth name||Adelaide Louise Hall|
|Born||20 October 1901|
|Origin||Brooklyn, New York City, United States|
|Died||7 November 1993(aged 92)|
|Genres||Jazz, Swing, Traditional Pop, Spirituals, Musical Theatre|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, actress, dancer, nightclub chanteuse|
|Instruments||ukulele, acoustic guitar|
|Birth name||Adelaide Louise Hall|
|Born||20 October 1901|
|Origin||Brooklyn, New York City, United States|
|Died||7 November 1993(aged 92)|
|Genres||Jazz, Swing, Traditional Pop, Spirituals, Musical Theatre|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, actress, dancer, nightclub chanteuse|
|Instruments||ukulele, acoustic guitar|
Adelaide Louise Hall (20 October 1901 – 7 November 1993) was an American-born UK-based jazz singer and entertainer. Her long career spanned more than 70 years from 1921 until her death and she was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Hall entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003 as the world's most enduring recording artist having released material over eight consecutive decades. She performed with major artists such as Art Tatum Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Fela Sowande Rudy Vallee and Jools Holland, and 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.
Adelaide Hall 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.
Hall was hired to join the cast of the Chocolate Kiddies revue in New York, where they rehearsed before setting sail for Europe. The initial tour started at Hamburg, Germany, on 17 May 1925, and ended in Paris, France in December 1925 visiting many major cities in-between. The revue was designed to give Europeans a sampling of black entertainment from New York. Included in the cast were The Three Eddies, Lottie Gee, Rufus Greenlee and Thaddeus Drayton, Bobbie and Babe Goins, Charles Davis and Sam Wooding and his Orchestra. After the initial tour disbanded, Sam Wooding and his Orchestra continued touring the Chocolate Kiddies revue for several years later.
Upon her return to New York, after touring Europe with the Chocolate Kiddies, Hall was featured in Tan Town Topics, a revue containing songs written by Fats Waller and Spencer Williams. The cast included Fats Waller, Eddie Rector and Ralph Cooper, Adelaide Hall, Maude Mills, Arthur Gaines, Leondus Simmons and a dance troupe called the Tan Town Topics Vamps. The show opened at Harlem’s Lafayette Theatre on 5 April followed by a short road tour on the eastern T.O.B.A. circuit taking in Baltimore, Chicago and Philadelphia.
During July 1926, Hall appeared in residency with Lottie Gee and The Southern Syncopated Orchestra at Small’s Paradise, New York. On Tuesday, 5 October, Hall appeared again at Small’s Paradise at a special party, "Handy Night", hosted by the venue to honour W. C. Handy and to celebrate the release of his newly published book Blues: An Anthology—Complete Words and Music of 53 Great Songs. For entertainment, Adelaide Hall, Lottie Gee, Maude White and Chic Collins provided a selection of jazz and blues numbers.
From October 1926, Hall toured America playing the T.O.B.A. circuit until September 1927 in the highly praised show Desires of 1927, conceived by J. Homer Tutt. As the Pittsburgh Courier noted: "Adelaide Hall and assistants have some show. Speed, pretty girls, catchy music, a touch of art, which touches the border line of nudity - the names of such well-known stage celebrities as Adelaide Hall, J. Homer Tutt, Henry 'Gang' Jones, the Harmony, Trio, Charles Hawkins, Arthur Porter, 'Billy' McKelvey and Clarence Nance."
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, 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". In 1928, "Creole Love Call" entered the Billboard song charts at No. 19 (USA). On 7 January 1933, Hall and Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra recorded "I Must Have That Man" and "Baby".
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 London show Blackbirds but Mills died of pneumonia in 1927 before rehearsals commenced. Hall was chosen to replace her. The revue originally opened at Les Ambassadeurs Club in New York in January 1928, under the name Blackbird Revue, but it was renamed Blackbirds of 1928 and in May 1928 transferred to Broadway's Liberty Theatre, 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 performing what she termed "risqué dance moves", she tried to stop the show during Adelaide's performance and banned her from appearing in any future performances. The ban only remained for one performance and Adelaide returned triumphantly to her role the following day. It was reported in the press that the show's producer Lew Leslie was so concerned about race violence connected with the controversy surrounding Adelaide's performance that he took out a hefty insurance policy to cover the cast; the most heavily insured were the principals, Adelaide Hall and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. It was this musical that secured Hall's success both in the USA and in Europe when the production was taken in 1929 to Paris, France, where it ran for three months at the Moulin Rouge. The French artist Paul Colin illustrated several posters to advertise Blackbirds run at the Moulin Rouge including one entitled "Le Tumulte Noir – Dancer in Magenta" that captures Hall's performance beautifully, as she is dancing and waving her arms about. In Europe, Hall rivalled Josephine Baker for popularity on the European stage. With Blackbirds′ music score written by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, Hall's performances of the songs "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby", "Diga Diga Do", "Bandanna Babies" and "I Must Have That Man" made them into household hits, and they continued to be audience favourites throughout her long career.
In 1930, Hall and Bojangles starred together at New York's Palace Theatre on Broadway for one week. So successful was her collaboration with Bojangles, in 1930 they were teamed up together again, this time by Marty Forkins (Bojangles' manager) to star in another Broadway musical titled Brown Buddies that opened on Broadway at the Liberty Theatre, 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 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 in New York City where it ran a fairly solid run of 111 performances until 10 January 1931.
In 1931, Hall embarked on a world concert tour that visited two continents (America and Europe). The tour was estimated to have performed to more than one million people. During the tour she appeared four times at New York's Palace Theatre. 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.
In the fall of 1932, upon her return to New York, Hall and her husband purchased the lease on an exclusive freehold residential estate in Larchmont in the New York suburb of Westchester County. As news of her arrival in Larchmont leaked into the local media she began to encounter racist opposition from her white upper-middle-class prejudiced neighbours, who threatened court action to have Hall evicted. After her home was broken into and an attempt was made to set it alight, news of the attack hit national newspaper headlines. Receiving hundreds of letters of support from the American public imploring her to stick it out, Hall stood her ground and in a press statement she issued insisted that she was a true American citizen as her ancestry could be traced back to the Shinnecock Indian tribe of Long Island and as such she had every right to reside where she wished.
"ADELAIDE HALL TO TOUR THE COAST" – Pittsburgh Courier headline, 22 July 1933
Hall's itinerary included all the principal cities and lasted 30 weeks
"Miss Adelaide Hall Captures The World Fair City and They Like It" – Pittsburgh Courier, 19 August 1933:
"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." From the Pittsburgh Courier, 19 August 1933, written by Jules Bledsoe.
On 19 August 1933, the fifth annual Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic took place during the prestigious Chicago World Fair. African Americans came out in droves to support the event, held by the Chicago Defender local newspaper. The Chicago Defender had named the event after a weekly column in its children's section written by Willard Motley. Billiken became a symbol of pride, happiness and hope for African-American youth. After the famous parade (the largest to date) a huge free picnic event was held in Washington Park that included games, music, entertainment, dancing and ice cream. Performing in concert at the event in front of an estimated 50,000 people was the parade's guest of honour Adelaide Hall. Also appearing at the event were Cab Calloway, Earl Hines and The Sioux Tribe of Native Americans.
Stormy Weather Revue starring Adelaide Hall
New York, 29 November 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."
In October 1933, for the first time in history the entire floor revue from Harlem's Cotton Club went on tour, playing theatres in principal cities across the US. Irving Mills organised the tour and Adelaide Hall headlined the cast. Other performers on the bill included the Mills Blue Rhythm Band and George Dewey Washington. The revue was originally called The Cotton Club Parade of 1933 but for the road tour it was changed to the Stormy Weather Revue. As the name implies, the show contained the hit song "Stormy Weather" written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, which had originally been introduced by Ethel Waters earlier that year in the Cotton Club Parade of 1933.
"Chocolate Soldiers" opens at the new Apollo Theater, Harlem, starring Adelaide Hall
Harlem, New York, 14 February 1934: "Chocolate Soldiers," a production featuring Adelaide Hall and the Sam Wooding Orchestra, opened at the Apollo Theater 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.
On 23 March 1934, Hall opened at Harlem's Cotton Club in The Cotton Club Parade 24th Edition  in the largest grossing show ever staged there. The show ran for nine months. In the show Hall introduced the songs "Ill Wind" and "Primitive Prima Donna", which Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler wrote especially for her.
During 1935, Hall performed another coast-to-coast American/Canadian concert tour that took in the South. Prior to the tour commencing, she gave an interview (during her visit to Dixie), conducted by the journalist George Tyler, that was published on 16 March 1935 in the Afro-American newspaper. In the interview, Hall gives a rare insight into her life, disclosing how dramatically it has changed since her humble upbringing in Harlem.
'Much has been said and published too, about the magnificent residence of Miss Hall,' says George, 'but my interest was in what transpires behind the portals of this mansion when the singer is at home.''I have a sun parlour,' said Adelaide, 'in which I take a keen delight. Here, while enjoying the rays of the sun, I crochet and listen to the radio. A great deal of my time off the stage I spend painting or working in my garden. My favourite radio artists are Mildred Bailey, Willard Robison and his Deep River Orchestra, and the Southernaires. My stage favourites include Bill Robinson, Ethel Waters and Ada Brown. While at home I do very little cooking; in fact, there are servants to take care of these details. The cook's biggest job is to prepare broiled chicken, as that is one of my favourite dishes.'
George adds that the singing star owns and drives her car, roller skates, swims, plays tennis and enjoys horseback riding.
'When I retire from public life I shall resume my career as a modiste,' confided Miss Hall. 'As a kid I longed for a stage career, and my first step towards this was to run away from school to try my luck behind the footlights. I was apprehended and sent back to school to continue my training as a modiste. Today, I am proud that I am more than an actress.'
George continues by asking Adelaide about her forthcoming American and Canadian concert tour, which takes her deep into the South: "What do you think of such a tour, under the conditions that exist in the South?" Adelaide replied, "My experience of a couple of years ago while on a coast-to-coast tour should serve me well. Being a member of the oppressed race, I think I will be able to accustom myself to conditions, as they exist. However, there are many details I would rather not go into."
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. "It held about 200 people. I made this dramatic entrance coming down a spiral staircase from the attic. Nobody knew that all the boxes of wine and tinned food were stored up there with me. I came down the stairs in the most gorgeous costumes you'll ever see, floating in feathers and plumes," recalled Adelaide during an interview. The Quintette du Hot Club de France, featuring 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 50 performers opened in Paris, France, and 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. Hall is credited with introducing the dance craze Truckin' to the Parisians. In 1937, she choreographed her own take on the famous French dance the Can-can; she called it the Canned Apple and would perform it at her Montmartre nightclub "La Grosse Pomme". In Europe, she sang with several orchestras, including those of Willie Lewis and Ray Ventura and in 1937 (while on a trip to Copenhagen) she recorded four songs with Kai Ewans and his Orchestra for the Tono record label.
After many years performing in the USA and Europe, Hall went to the United Kingdom in 1938 to take a starring role in a stage-adapted 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. Hall lived in London from 1938 until her death. On 28 August 1938, Hall recorded "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" and "That Old Feeling" at London's Abbey Road Studios, with Fats Waller accompanying her on the organ. The recordings were released on HMV Records OEA6391. On 10 September 1938, she appeared in Broadcast To America with Waller at London's St George's Hall in a live transatlantic radio broadcast.
On 25 February 1939, BBC TV broadcast Harlem in Mayfair from Adelaide Hall's London nightclub, the Old Florida Club. The cabaret show starred Hall; also on the bill were Esther and Louise, Eddie Lewis, and Fela Sowande with his Negro Choir and Orchestra. On 20 May 1939, BBC TV broadcast the cabaret show Dark Sophistication, starring Hall performing at the Old Florida Club. On 26 August 1939, Hall took part in the BBC TV production Kentucky Minstrels, which was transmitted live from the 2500-seat RadiOlympia Theatre in London. On Friday, 1 September 1939, Hall was scheduled to appear at 9:00 pm in a live BBC TV broadcast entitled Variety, recorded direct from the RadiOlympia Theatre. Other performers on the bill included Nosmo King, The Gordon RadiOlympia Girls, Hubert Murray and Mooney, and Bobby Howell and his Band. However, with war looming, the BBC were instructed by the government to shut down broadcasting and at 12:35 the service went off the air for seven years. It appears that the show Variety never took place at RadiOlympia; The Times newspaper for the following day (2 September) noted in the section "News in Brief" that "RadiOlympia closed at 12:30 yesterday", presumably another result of the country being placed on a war footing. Unexpectedly, the show Variety became one of the first British theatrical casualties of World War 2 and part of the mystery surrounding "what really happened at the BBC on 1 September 1939?" Also during 1939, Hall became a featured vocalist with Joe Loss & His Band and through 1939 to 1941, Hall headlined the popular BBC Radio variety show Piccadixie. She also toured the UK extensively during these years headlining the "Piccadixie British Tour" supported by comedian Oliver Wakefield and pianist George Elrick.
During WWII, Hall entertained the troops in Europe for the USO (United Service Organizations Inc.) and the British equivalent ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) in which she served as a Captain. Her uniform was made by Madam Adele of Grosvenor Street in Mayfair, London.
Hall's career was almost an uninterrupted success. She made more than 70 records for Decca, had her own radio series Wrapped in Velvet (making her 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 (by a land mine in an air raid) of the London nightclub (the Old Florida Club) owned by her and her husband. Hall has a cameo appearance as a singer in the 1940 Oscar-winning movie The Thief of Bagdad directed by Alexander Korda in which she sings Lullaby of the Princess written by Miklós Rózsa. In 1943, Hall featured in an ENSA radio show broadcast by the BBC entitled Spotlight on the Stars during which she was accompanied by the BBC Variety Orchestra. During the show she mentions how she had just returned home from a tour.
On 20 May 1940, Hall's recording of "Careless" debuted in the British charts at no. 30, where it remained for two consecutive weeks. In the August 1940 issue of Vogue magazine (British edition), a photograph of Hall appeared inside on the "Spotlight" feature page compiled by the features editor Lesley Blanch, the caption reading: "Adelaide Hall and her husband run the Florida. His show, her songs, our fun." On 6 June 1944, Hall's recording of "There Goes That Song Again" entered the BBC British charts at No. 15.
Hall appears in the earliest post-war BBC telerecording: a live recording of her performance at RadiOlympia Theatre in October 1947. The footage was filmed on the "Cafe Continental" stage set at the theatre for a BBC TV show entitled Variety in Sepia.
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 the 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 1949, Hall appeared on the BBC TV shows Rooftop Rendezvous and Caribbean Carnival.
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 the Victoria Palace Theatre in the presence of Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. She was the first black female artiste to ever take part in the Royal Variety Performance. 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 that Princess Elizabeth was a frequent visitor and that Hall had taught the princess the Charleston.
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 1956, she returned to London's West End in the play Someone to Talk To. In 1957, at the request of Lena Horne, Hall returned to America to appear with Horne 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, Hall 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 UK.
On 1 April 1960, Hall appeared on the BBC TV music show The Music Goes Round hosted by John Watt. The show was an NBA TV version of the radio show Songs from the Shows. On 3 March 1965, Hall appeared on BBC2 television in Muses with Milligan with Spike Milligan and John Betjeman in a show devoted to poetry and jazz. In 1968, she returned to London's West End in the stage play Janie Jackson.
Between 1969 and 1970, 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 (as a panelist) and on 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 as a guest. In July 1982, Hall appeared at a Gala concert held at St. Paul's Cathedral in London to celebrate the sacred music of Duke Ellington. A live recording of the concert titled The Sacred Music of Duke Ellington was filmed for a Channel 4 TV documentary. Artists also taking part included Tony Bennett, Phyllis Hyman, Jacques Loussier, Alan Downey, Wayne Sleep, Ronnie Scott, Stan Tracey and the New Swingle Singers. The concert was hosted by Rod Steiger and narrated by Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
In April 1980, Hall returned to the USA and from 1 to 24 May she appeared in the cast of Black Broadway (a retrospective musical revue) at the Town Hall in New York. Among other artists appearingd in the show were Elisabeth Welch, Gregory Hines, Bobby Short, Honi Coles, Edith Wilson, Nell Carter and John W. Bubbles of Buck and Bubbles fame. The show had originally been staged at the Newport Jazz Festival on 24 June 1979, before it was re-assembled in 1980 and staged at the Town Hall. Following Black Broadway, in June 1980, Hall took up temporary residence at Michael’s Pub in New York and commenced a three-week engagement, performing three shows a night. Also in June 1980, she performed at The Playboy Jazz Festival held at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Other artists on the bill included Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Stephane Grappelli, Mel Torme, Zoot Sims, Carmen McRae and Chick Corea. On 2 July 1980, writer Rosetta Reitz organised a tribute to the Women of Jazz at Avery Fisher Hall as part of the Newport Jazz Festival. Called The Blues is a Woman, the program, narrated by Carmen McRae, featured music by Adelaide Hall, Big Mama Thornton, Nell Carter and Koko Taylor. Back in the States, in February 1983, Hall appeared on the bill of the 100th birthday celebration for composer Eubie Blake held at the Shubert Theater, New York. Unfortunately, Blake was recovering from pneumonia at the time so could not attend the event but with the aid of a special telephone hook-up to his home in Brooklyn he was able to listen to the entire two-hour show. On 5 April 1983, Hall commenced a month-long engagement at the Cookery in New York. Her accompanists were Ronnie Whyte and Frank Tate.
In 1985, Hall appeared on British TV in the cast of Omnibus: The Cotton Club comes to the Ritz, a 60-minute BBC documentary in which some of the performers from Harlem's Cotton Club were filmed performing at the Ritz Hotel in London along with contemporary musicians. Also on the bill were Cab Calloway and his Orchestra, Doc Cheatham, Max Roach and the Nicholas Brothers. In 1985, Hall appeared on British TV on the South Bank Show in a documentary entitled The Real Cotton Club. In July 1986, Hall performed in concert at the Barbican Centre, London.
In October 1988, Hall presented a one-woman show at Carnegie Hall in New York. She presented the same show in London at the Kings Head Theatre (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 Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs. In 1989, she appeared at London's Royal Festival Hall at the Royal Ellington Tribute Concert that included the world premiere of Ellington's Queen's Suite, which was written for Queen Elizabeth II. Other artists appearing included the Bob Wilber Band, Tony Coe and Alan Cohen. The concert was filmed by Independent Film Production Associates.
In 1990, Hall starred in the movie Sophisticated Lady, a documentary about her life, which included a performance of her in concert recorded live at the Riverside Studios in London. Her final US concert appearances took place in 1992 at Carnegie Hall, in the Cabaret Comes to Carnegie series. Also in 1992, she was presented with a Gold Badge Award from BASCA (the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors). After attending the award ceremony she said: "I was so proud to be acknowledged. They said, 'You look like a Queen. You don’t look more than fifty or sixty. You look so well.' I wore a sequin suit – different colours – it glittered. I must have been the oldest one there! I ate everything that came along."
Adelaide Hall died on 7 November 1993, aged 92, at London's Charing Cross Hospital. Honouring her wish, her funeral took place in New York at the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Garden City, New York) and she was laid to rest beside her mother at the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn. In London, a memorial service for her was held at St Paul's, Covent Garden (known as the "actor's church"), attended by many stars including Elaine Page, Elisabeth Welch, Lon Satton and Elaine Delmar. One of the participants, TV presenter and broadcaster Michael Parkinson, remarked rather fittingly during his eulogy: "Adelaide lived to be ninety-two and never grew old."
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 world's 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 20th 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. In the "100 Great Records of the 1920s" Adelaide Hall is at number 26 with Duke Ellington's Orchestra, singing "The Blues I Love To Sing" (Duke Ellington/Bubber Miley) Victor 21490, 1927. Published in 1998, Marsha Hunt's novel Like Venus Fading was inspired by the lives of Adelaide Hall (known as the lightly-tanned Venus), Josephine Baker and Dorothy Dandridge.
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 2003 biography of Adelaide Hall entitled Underneath a Harlem Moon: The Harlem to Paris Years of Adelaide Hall, by Iain Cameron Williams:
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 didn't get the recognition she perhaps deserved. Plus it also talks about how she'd had a hard time growing up, because her sister – who she was very close to – had died tragically of an illness.... So anyway, there's 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 don't 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 it's 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.
On 11 August 2014, Mvula released her second album, an orchestral version of her top 10 debut album Sing to the Moon, and on 19 August 2014 Laura appeared at The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall performing her entire album Sing to the Moon accompanied by the Metropole Orkest.
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 was booked through to 31 August 2014. The show is an idealised fantasy of Harlem in its 1920s–1930s heyday and salutes 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 headliner Fantasia Barrinos rendition of "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" and Carmen Ruby Floyd's performance of Ellington and Hall's "Creole Love Call". The song "Diga Diga Do" also appears in the show.
In February 2014 a new stage show called A Nite at the Cotton Club, produced by Lydia Dillingham, opened at the Southern Broadway Dinner Theatre at The Historic Hildreth Brothers Building in Alabama, USA, in which the actress Brandy Davis portrays Adelaide Hall. The entire run sold out.
On 14 February 2014, ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) celebrated their Centenary by publishing a timeline of songs chosen to represent the past hundred years. One song was chosen to represent each year. Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh’s song "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby", written for the Broadway revue Blackbirds of 1928, was chosen for 1928 and Adelaide Hall’s recording of the song was chosen to represent the year.
|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 No. 1, Camden, NJ )||Duke Ellington Orchestra (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 (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 Leslie's 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)||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)||Adelaide Hall with piano acc. by Francis J. Carter and Bennie Paine|
|"Strange As It Seems" / "I'll 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 It's 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|
|"I Must Have That Man" / "Baby"||B-12773-B / B-12774-B issue 5063 Lucky Records Co. Tokyo (Japan) issued 1935||(21 December 1932) (recorded ARC session, New York City)||Adelaide Hall with Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra|
|"East of the Sun and West of the Moon" / "Solitude”||P-77616 / P-77618 Ultraphone AP1575||(20 January 1936, Paris)||Adelaide Hall with John Ellsworth and his Orchestra (with Joe Turner on piano and Stephane Grappelli on violin)|
|"I'm Shooting High" / "Say You're Mine”||CPT-2649-1 / CPT-2652-1 Pathe PA 914||(5 May 1936, Paris)||Adelaide Hall with Willie Lewis and his Orchestra|
|"After You've Gone" / "Swing Guitars”||CPT-1 / CPT-1 Pathe PA||(15 May 1936, Paris)||Adelaide Hall with Willie Lewis and his Orchestra|
|"I'm Shooting High"||CPT-1 / Pathe PA||(15 October 1936, Paris)||Adelaide Hall with Willie Lewis and his Orchestra (Trumpeter Bill Coleman is included on this recording)|
|"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|
|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)|
|"Don't Worry 'Bout Me" / "'Tain't 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" / "Don't Make Me Laugh"||Decca F-7340||(11 March 1940)|
|"Chloe" / "Begin the Beguine"||Decca F-7460||(15 April 1940)|
|"This Can't 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" / "Yesterday's Dreams"||Decca F-7708||(7 February 1941)|
|"Ain't it a Shame About Mame"? / "Room Five Hundred and Four"||Decca F-7709||(7 February 1941)|
|"It's 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 Didn't 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 Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" / "My Sister and I"||Decca F-8043||(18 November 1941)|
|"A Sinner Kissed an Angel" / "Why Don't 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)|
|"Let's Get Lost" / "As Time Goes By"||Decca F-8292||(1943)|
|"I Don't Want Anybody at All (If I Can't Have You)" / "I Heard You Cried Last Night"||Decca F-8362||(6 September 1943)|
|"Sophisticated Lady" / "I'm getting Sentimental Over You"||Decca F-8467||(4 August 1944)|
|"There Goes That Song Again" / "I'm Gonna Love That Guy"||Decca F-8517||(3 March 1945)|
|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)|
|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)||Adelaide Hall|
|Songs||Label & Number||Date||Artist|
|"Bluebird on my Shoulder" / "Common Sense"||Oriole (CB 1556)||(May 1960) (recorded in London)||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:
Exhibitions that feature or have featured content relating to Adelaide Hall: