The DIVAS VINYL Discovered Collection
The DIVAS VINYL Discovered Collection - BRAND NEW RELEASE
3 VINYL ALBUMS Featuring 6 DIVA LEGENDS Back To Back on 3 UNIQUE ALBUMS
THE DIVAS VINYL COLLECTION
Introduces you to six of the most iconic DIVAS artists of all time; Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Shirley Bassey, Aretha Franklin,Etta James and Judy Garland.
Released on the AA Vinyl Label, each of the six A-Sides features a selection of the artist's most influential music and finest work that helped establish them as true greats.
There are no fillers, only A-Sides with timeless music from these six legendary DIVAS artists.
With detailed sleeve notes inside there is even more to enjoy besides the warm and rich sound of vinyl. Discover and experience the musical journey of DIVAS DISCOVERED.
DIVAS Literally translated as ‘deity’ or ‘goddess’, every female artist in this collection has earned this most prized of epithets. Spanning over 80 years, these women have become legendary for their talent, their attitudes, and their presence.
In a culture that prizes youth and beauty over depth and experience, the fact that these divas rose to the top is testament to their musical prowess.
In an industry that feeds on the next big thing, their longevity and enduring popularity speaks of their passion for the songs and their audiences’ unstinting adoration of them.
Since the early 19th century, entertainment was one of the few professions that was open to women – provided they did not mind being labeled as disreputable for doing so the moment they ‘played for pay’. Many aspiring female singers and musicians had to satisfy their musical aspirations by playing at home for close friends and family.
However, all this changed in the 1920s with two developments in the industry. There was increasing popularity of the blues and blues women like Bessie Smith made fortunes from sharing their talent. In addition, there was the advent of recording, which enabled women to step in front of the microphone - if not out onto the public stage initially – and to find a market for their music.
The most well trodden route to solo stardom in the 1940s was via the big band, and this is also true of male vocalists too. Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee both joined big bands in their early careers before emerging as solo stars.
Judy Garland and Shirley Bassey made the transition from backgrounds in entertainment, while Aretha Franklin and Etta James were both involved in groups. Franklin cut her teeth in her minister father’s gospel choir, while Etta James also sang in a church choir before forming her own girl group, Etta James and The Creolettes.
Each artist featured in this collection is a unique talent but making it to Diva status isn’t just about the voice. They have an undeniable X factor. Fitzgerald was a hard-working pioneer, often touring and performing for fifty weeks a year. Franklin has the big voice that projected the intimate thoughts and feelings of women the world over. Lee had business savvy, knew the value of promotion and excelled as a songwriter. Bassey put Wales on the musical map almost singlehandedly poured out her heart and soul into her music, unafraid of the woman she was and not caring what others made of her. Garland similarly projected her inner self and personal struggles in her musical performances; a quality that commentators have suggested is the key ingredient in her status as a gay icon.
A diva needs determination, courage, passion, talent, and intelligence, not just the voice and the attitude. As Aretha Franklin said: “Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva isn’t all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people.” Viva La Diva!
VINYL ALBUM ONE - TRACK AND ARTIST LISTING
Ella Jane Fitzgerald had many epithets: ‘First Lady of Song’, ‘Queen of Jazz’ and ‘Lady Ella’ among them. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction and phrasing as well as her skills in improvisation ability. As the first successful woman in jazz, she paved the way for future female artists and influenced the entire genre, not only in terms of how it sounded but also in how it was performed.
Fitzgerald enjoyed her first musical success with the Chick Webb Orchestra performing around the country, and at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. When Webb died, she took on the role of bandleader but left in 1942 to start a solo career.
Materials from Ella Fitzgerald’s long career are stored are considered so important culturally that they are stored in the Archives Centre at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History while her personal musical arrangements are kept in the Library of Congress.
Fitzgerald has influenced a diverse range of artists including Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Pat Boone and Cleo Laine. Bing Crosby summed it up, though: “Man, woman or child, Ella is the greatest of them all.”
Peggy Lee (b: 26 May 1920; d: 22 January 2002)
Peggy Lee was born Norma Deloris Egstrom in North Dakota.
Lee started out professionally as a singer with Benny Goodman’s big band. She was unusual in that she possessed a cool detached persona that matched her spare, breathy vocals perhaps most evident in her versions of Fever and Is That All There Is, both featured n this sampler of her work.
Frank Sinatra, Elvis Costello and k.d. Lang are all fans of Lee’s work. Lang has said: “The subtlety of Peggy’s delivery is what I long for.”
VINYL ALBUM TWO - TRACK AND ARTIST LISTING
Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey was born in Cardiff and counts Eartha Kitt as her key musical influence.
In 1953, Bassey signed her first professional contract, to sing in a touring variety show
In 1955, she was by spotted by theatre impresario Jack Hylton who invited her to feature a West End show in London. During the show's run, record producer Johnny Franz saw her and offered her a recording contract.
Bassey began recording in 1956, when she was 19, but it would be 1959 that would be her breakthrough year, with her singles As I Love You and Kiss Me, Honey Honey, Kiss Me reaching the top three in the UK pop chart. As I Love You made it all the way to No. 1 and was the first No. 1 single by a Welsh artist. She continued to have hits throughout the sixties and seventies, including three James Bond theme songs.
David Bowie counted her as one of his musical influences, as does Paloma Faith. In 2007 during her performance at the Glastonbury Festival, the Arctic Monkey’s sang to her as a tribute.
Aretha Franklin (25 March 1942)
Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Tennessee and began her singing career with her minister father’s gospel choir in church.
In 1960, at the age of 18, Franklin began recording secular songs for Columbia Records but achieved commercial success after signing with Atlantic in 1967.
Her version of Try A Little Tenderness – included here – inspired Otis Reading’s famous version.
To date, Franklin is ranked as the number one female vocalist with the most Billboard chart hits in the rock era (1955 to 2012), amounting to some 88 songs. She is estimated to be worth in the region of $68 million.
She has influenced artists like Kelly Clarkson and Chaka Khan but Franklin herself says – in true Diva style - she can hear her own influence on the likes of Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson.
VINYL ALBUM THREE - TRACK AND ARTIST LISTING
Etta James (b: 25 January 1938; d: 20 January 2012)
Jamesetta Hawkins better known as Etta James was born in Los Angeles.
As a singer, her repertoire was impressive, spanning blues, jazz, gospel, rock and roll, soul and rhythm and blues.
Starting her career in 1954, established her own girl group, Etta James and the Creolettes but it was as a solo artist that she achieved her success.
Hits included The Wallflower, At Last, and I Just Want To Make Love To You – all featured in this collection.
James is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and has been hugely influential to many artists including Christina Aguilera, Pink, Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, and Diana Ross. Diva in training, Adele is also influenced by James and said: “She was the first time a voice made me stop what I was doing and sit down and listen. It took over my mind and body.”
Judy Garland (b: 10 June 1922; d: 22 June 1969)
Born Frances Ethel Gumm in Minnesota, Judy Garland’s career spanned more than 40 years in which excelled as a film actress, a recording artist, and a concert performer.
Garland began performing in vaudeville with her two sisters before being signed to MGM in her teens. Abused and exploited by studio bosses, her early experiences in the film industry would leave her with many scars and demons for the rest of her life. While at MGM she made over twenty films, including The Wizard of Oz (1939).
It was in the Wizard Of Oz that Garland sang Over The Rainbow, and is included in this set of songs. Over The Rainbow is regarded as the Song of the Century topping the list at No.1 in the Recording Industry of America’s Song of the Century list. Other classic recordings included here are the sublime The Man Who Got Away from the film A Star Is Born, The Trolley Bus Song from Meet Me In St Louis.
Despite her magnificent career success, Garland’s personal life seemed cursed. She had four unsuccessful marriages, suffered severe financial difficulties, hated her physical appearance and battled addictions to drugs and alcohol. She died from a drugs overdose aged 47.Contemporary stars - from Rufus Wainwright to Lady Gaga - still find inspiration in this powerfully fragile Diva’s work.