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On this date in 1901, Adelaide Hall was born. She was a Black entertainer, dancer, and vocalist.
She was born in Brooklyn, where her father taught her to sing. She made her show business debut in a number of Black musical shows in New York, including “Shuffle Along,” “Chocolate Kiddies,” “Desires Of 1927,” and “Black Birds of 1928.” The last of these introduced several songs sung by Hall, including “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” Hall went to Paris and was married to a British seaman (Bert Hicks) who opened a club for her called La Grosse Pomme (the Big Apple).
Throughout the 1930s, she stayed busy working in America and Europe, recording with Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, and others. During World War II, her club was destroyed in a bombing raid, but Hall’s career continued without disruption. She toured for Entertainment National Services Association (ENSA), sang in theaters, clubs, and on the radio. In 1951, she appeared in the London version of “Kiss Me, Kate.” In 1957, Hall went back to Broadway to star in “Jamaica” with Lena Horne.
During 1960-70 (after her husband’s death), she recorded two jazz albums, and in 1974, she sang at the memorial service for Duke Ellington at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London. In 1988, she performed a one-woman show at Carnegie Hall. Adelaide Hall died on November 7, 1992, in London.
Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York