Sarah Vaughan

Born Mar 27, 1924

Sarah Lois Vaughan was an American jazz singer, described by Scott Yanow as having "one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century. " Nicknamed "Sailor" (for her salty speech), "Sassy" and "The Divine One", Sarah Vaughan was a Grammy Award winner. The National Endowment for the Arts bestowed upon her its "highest honor in jazz", the NEA Jazz Masters Award, in 1989.… Read More

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1924 Birth Born on March 27, 1924.
1931 7 Years Old Vaughan initially attended Newark's East Side High School, later transferring to Newark Arts High School, which had opened in 1931 as the United States' first arts "magnet" high school. … Read More


1942 18 Years Old Some time in the fall of 1942 (by which time she was 18 years old), Vaughan suggested that Robinson enter the Apollo Theater Amateur Night contest. … Read More
After a considerable delay, Vaughan was contacted by the Apollo in the spring of 1943 to open for Ella Fitzgerald. … Read More


Vaughan accepted Eckstine's invitation to join his new band in 1944, giving her an opportunity to develop her musicianship with the seminal figures in this era of jazz.
1945 21 Years Old 1 More Event
Vaughan began her solo career in 1945 by freelancing in clubs on New York's 52nd Street such as the Three Deuces, the Famous Door, the Downbeat and the Onyx Club. … Read More
After being invited by violinist Stuff Smith to record the song "Time and Again" in October, Vaughan was offered a contract to record for the Musicraft label by owner Albert Marx, although she would not begin recording as a leader for Musicraft until May 7, 1946. … Read More
Vaughan's recording success for Musicraft continued through 1947 and 1948.
1948 24 Years Old Her recording of "Nature Boy" from April 8, 1948, became a hit around the time the better known Nat King Cole version of the song was released. … Read More
The musicians union ban pushed Musicraft to the brink of bankruptcy and Vaughan used the missed royalty payments as an opportunity to sign with the larger Columbia record label. Following the settling of the legal issues, her chart successes continued with the charting of "Black Coffee" in the summer of 1949. … Read More
1953 29 Years Old In 1953, Treadwell negotiated a unique contract for Vaughan with Mercury Records. … Read More


Her debut Mercury recording session took place in February 1954 and she stayed with the label through 1959. … Read More
1955 - 1959 4 More Events
1960 36 Years Old 1 More Event
Vaughan began recording for Roulette in April 1960, making a string of strong large ensemble albums arranged and/or conducted by Billy May, Jimmy Jones, Joe Reisman, Quincy Jones, Benny Carter, Lalo Schifrin, and Gerald Wilson.
1961 37 Years Old In 1961 Vaughn and Atkins adopted a daughter, Deborah Lois Atkins, known professionally as Paris Vaughan.
However, the relationship with Atkins proved difficult and violent so, following a series of incidents, she filed for divorce in November 1963. … Read More


1967 - 1970 3 More Events
1971 47 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1971, Bob Shad, who had worked with her as producer at Mercury Records, asked her to record for his new record label, Mainstream Records.
1972 48 Years Old In April 1972, Vaughan recorded a collection of ballads written, arranged and conducted by Michel Legrand. … Read More
1973 49 Years Old 1 More Event
Vaughan recorded Live in Japan, a live album in Tokyo with her trio in September 1973. … Read More


Unfortunately, Vaughan's relationship with Mainstream soured in 1974, allegedly in a conflict precipitated by Fisher over an album cover photograph and/or unpaid royalties. … Read More
1975 51 Years Old The concert was a success and Thomas and Vaughan repeated the performance with Thomas' home orchestra in Buffalo, New York, followed by appearances in 1975 and 1976 with other symphony orchestras in the United States. … Read More
In 1977, Tom Guy, a young filmmaker and public TV producer, followed Vaughan around on tour, interviewing numerous artists speaking about her and capturing both concert and behind-the-scenes footage. … Read More
1980 - 1981 3 More Events
1982 58 Years Old 1 More Event
She was reunited in 1982 with Tilson Thomas for a modified version of the Gershwin program, played again by the Los Angeles Philharmonic but this time in its home hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; the CBS recording of the concert, Gershwin Live!, won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Female, and has become something of a classic itself. … Read More


1984 60 Years Old 1 More Event
She made a guest appearance in 1984 on Barry Manilow's 2:00 AM Paradise Cafe, an album of original pastiche compositions that featured a number of established jazz artists.
1986 - 1988 3 More Events
In 1989, Quincy Jones' album Back on the Block featured Vaughan in a brief scatting duet with Ella Fitzgerald. … Read More
1990 66 Years Old Vaughan returned to her home in California to begin chemotherapy and spent her final months alternating stays in the hospital and at home. Vaughan grew weary of the struggle and demanded to be taken home, where she died on the evening of April 3, 1990, while watching a television movie featuring her daughter, a week after her 66th birthday. … Read More
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