Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sal Minella 

3 Danger Monkey

Sam and Ella:
An American Tragedy

I bet you didn’t know about this.

In early 1961, Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song herself, was at a party being given by some record executives from RCA in Los Angeles. Fitzgerald was under contract with Verve Records at the time, and didn’t know many of the people at the party. After mingling for an hour or so, she was getting ready to leave when she heard someone playing the piano and singing in another room. She didn’t recognize the song, but she immediately loved it.

As the story goes, [...]

The party ended up lasting all night. The man at the piano turned out to be none other than Sam Cooke, and the song that had introduced him to Ella was one he’d composed and recorded.


As it turned out, the audience hadn’t walked out because of any problem with either of the two stars. The chicken marsala was undercooked, and nearly everyone in the crowd had taken sick. The singers were told of this the next morning, and they were asked to hold off the rest of the tour and perform again in New York to get things off to a proper start. But the damage had been done. Cooke, who was also a bit superstitious, refused to perform, insisting that it was going to happen again even if they never served chicken at one of their shows again. The tour was canceled, and that was the end of Sam and Ella. They never performed together again, and Cooke was killed in a bizarre shooting some three years later.

Umm. Ok. If you say so.


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