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Music / Sarah Vaughan

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The Divine One

"She is so good now that when I listen to her I want to cut my wrists with a dull razor."

Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) was an American Jazz singer, famous for her sweet and magnificent voice, which earned her the nickname "The Divine One".

She became famous in the 1930s and 1940s when touring with Earl Hines' big band and baritone Billy Eckstine. Initially she was hired as a pianist, but eventually, she became the lead singer of the band. When Eckstine left in 1943 Vaughan joined his band a year later. In 1945 she began a highly successful and critically acclaimed solo career and would tour the world for the next half century. She is best remembered for her signature songs "Tenderly" (1948), "Broken Hearted Melody" (1959) and the Stephen Sondheim cover "Send In The Clowns" (1973).

In 1964 she performed in front of Lyndon Johnson at the White House. She also played a private concert for Gerald Ford and French president Giscard d'Estaing. In 1989 she was bestowed with the NEA Jazz Masters Award, the highest honor a jazz artist can receive.

Her album "Live In Japan" (1973) was inducted in the National Recording Registry. Her 1946 song "If You Could See Me Now" and her collaboration album with Clifford Brown, Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown (1954), were inducted in the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998 and 1999.

Amy Winehouse mentions her in "October Song" from Frank: "She's reborn like Sarah Vaughan".

Albums with their own page on TV Tropes

Sarah Vaughan provides examples of:

  • A Cappella: "Nature Boy" was recorded with an a cappella choir as the only accompaniment.
  • Affectionate Nickname: She was nicknamed "Sassy", which fit her personality. Originally Billy Eckstine called her this, later other musicians took it over and today all her fans know her by this name.
  • Alliterative Title: "Vaughan and Violins", "Sarah Sings Soulfully", "Sweet 'n' Sassy".
  • Break Up Song: "Broken Hearted Melody"
  • The Chanteuse
  • Cover Album: She recorded a lot of these:
    • "Sarah Vaughan and Billy Eckstine Sing The Best Of Irving Berlin" (1957)
    • "Sarah Vaughan Sings George Gershwin" (1957)
    • "Sarah Vaughan Sings the Mancini Songbook" (1965), a cover album with Henry Mancini music.
    • "The Duke Ellington Songbook, Vol. 1" and "The Duke Ellington Songbook, Vol. 2" (both from 1979).
    • "Songs of the Beatles", a 1981 album with nothing but The Beatles songs.
  • Crossover: Her collaboration with Clifford Brown is a good example, Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown (1957). Her 1972 album "Sarah Vaughan with Michel Legrand" (1972) with Michel Legrand. She performed on the Godley & Creme album "Consequences" (1977) and collaborated with Sergio Mendes on "Brazilian Romance" (1987).
  • Jazz: Despite being one of the most famous singers in her genre, she didn't want to be pigeonholed within one musical style.
  • Live Album: She was best experienced live and recorded eight concert albums in her lifetime, one of which is Live in Japan.
  • Pop: From the 1960s onward, her music moved more to general pop music. In the early 1970s she moved back to her jazz roots.
  • Questioning Title?: "How Long Has This Been Going On?"
  • Self-Titled Album: "The Divine Sarah Sings", Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown, "Sarah Vaughan In Hi-Fi", "Sassy", "The Magic Of Sarah Vaughan", "The Explosive Side Of Sarah Vaughan", "Sarah + 2", "Sarah Sings Soulfly",...