KEXP Documentaries: “Sirens of Jazz” ‒ Anita O’Day

This week our KEXP Documentary series “Sirens of Jazz” continues with a look at singer Anita O’Day.  Her voice was somehow both sultry and wholesome, and she was considered a rebel for her onstage “antics”.   When she joined famous drummer Gene Krupa’s band in 1941, most female jazz singers just stood still and looked pretty.  Anita loved to dance along with the songs (shocking!) and flirt with the audience.  She was the first Caucasian female to perform a hit song onstage with an African-American artist -- trumpeter Roy Eldridge -- for the hit song “Let Me Off Uptown.”

As her career blossomed, she continued to be seen as an outlaw for experimenting with drugs - first marijuana and then later she became hooked on heroin.  Instead of cowering, Anita took advantage of the extra publicity.  Her openness about her addiction added to the shock of the general public.  After kicking heroin, Anita continued to perform and release albums up until her death at age 86.

Listen to this KEXP Documentary:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

KEXP Documentaries are created by Michele Myers. With assistance from John Felthous, Abe Beeson, Tiffany Grobelski and Mary Janisch. Executive Producer is Kevin Cole.  If you would like to follow along more closely in the creation of these radio stories, we post research materials, songs and videos on our Facebook page and on Twitter.

This entry was posted in KEXP, KEXP Documentaries and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Comment

  1. Will
    Posted October 20, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    if this piece means anything to any reader...see “jazz on a summer’s day”.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Donate Now!

Donate to KEXP Today!
where the music matters

The KEXP Blog

Sponsored By
Become a KEXP Sponsor!
  • KEXP Post Categories