Adelaide Hall
(b. October 20, 1901 - d. 7 November, 1993)

Adelaide Hall, an American-born British singer and entertainer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was taught to sing by her father. She began her career in 1921 in the chorus line of the Broadway musical Shuffle Along, and went on to appear in a number of similar black musical shows, until in 1928 she starred (with Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson) in Blackbirds of 1928. It was this revue that made her name, both in the U.S. and in Europe when the show was taken to Paris. Her performances in it included the songs I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby, Diga Diga Doo, and I Must Have That Man, which continued to be audience favorites throughout her career.

After many years performing in the U.S. and Europe, Hall went to the United Kingdom in 1938 in order to star 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, that she stayed, becoming one of the most popular singers and entertainers of the time. She lived in London from 1938 until her death.

Hall's career was an almost 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 London and Paris). In the 1940s, and especially during World War II, she was hugely popular with both civilian and ENSA audiences. (Entertainments National Service Association, or “ENSA” was an organization set up in 1939 to provide entertainment for British armed forces personnel during World War II.) Hall became one of the highest paid entertainers in the country (despite the destruction in an air raid of the Florida Club, the London nightclub owned by her and her husband).

During an extremely long career (since 1991 she has held the world record as the most enduring recording artist), Hall performed with major artists such as Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, 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), Fats Waller, and Art Tatum. She appeared in the London run of Kiss me Kate, starred with Lena Horne in Jamaica on Broadway in 1957, and made two jazz recordings with Humphrey Lyttelton in 1969–1970. 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, and presented a one-woman show at Carnegie Hall in 1988. Her final U.S. concert appearances took place in 1992 at Carnegie Hall, in the Cabaret Comes to Carnegie series. She died in 1993 at the age of ninety-two at London's Charing Cross Hospital. (Source:



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