Born Louis Daniel Armstrong on August 4th, 1901 in New Orleans, Louis Armstrong, also nicknamed Stachmo or Pops, was a trumpeter and singer. He was influential in Jazz and his solos shifted the styles focused from collective to solo performances. It was discovered through baptismal record that his real birthday was August 4th, 1901 and not July 4th, 1900 as he would often tell people. He had a distinctly deep and gravelly voice. He was one of the first African-American entertainers to “cross-over” the race line. He was a huge supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, but did so privately. Among his many hits are “What a Wonderful World”, “Ain’t Misbehaving”, “Hello Dolly” and “Stardust”. Armstrong died of a heart attack just short of a month before his 70th birthday on July 6th, 1971.
Born Ella Jane Fitzgerald on April 25th, 1917 in Newport News, Virginia, Ella Fitzgerald was known as the First Lady of Song. She was an American singer, known for jazz and song. She had a vocal range that spanned 3 octaves, had a pure tone and had amazing diction and intonation. Her birth parents separated shortly after her birth and her mother passed in 1932. She was abused by her stepfather and went to live with an aunt. Her recording career lasted 59 years and during this time she collected 13 Grammys and received a National Medal of Art from President Ronald Reagan and a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H. W. Bush. Ella suffered from diabetes and the disease finally claimed her life on June 15th, 1996.