Ella Johnson was born Ella Mae Jackson on June 22, 1919 in Darlington, South Carolina. She joined her brother Buddy Johnson in New York as a teenager, where he was leading a popular band at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.
Ella scored her first hit in 1940 with “Please, Mr. Johnson” with subsequent hits included “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?”, “When My Man Comes Home” and “Hittin’ On Me”. Her popular 1945 recording of “Since I Fell For You” composed by her brother, led to its eventual establishment as a jazz standard.
She continued to perform with Buddy Johnson into the 1960s and her singing drew comparisons to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.In February 2004, she died in New York City of Alzheimer’s disease, at the age of 84.
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