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Mildred Bailey
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    (February 27, 1907-December 12, 1951)
    Born in Tekoa, Washington
    Birth name was Mildred Rinker
    Sang with the bands of Paul Whiteman and Red Norvo
    Recorded the singles 'When Day Is Done' (1935), 'Where Are You' (1937), 'Rockin' Chair' (1937), 'Bob White' (1937), 'Thanks for the Memory' (1938), 'Please Be Kind' (1938), 'Says My Heart' (1938), 'Born To Swing' (1938) and 'Darn That Dream' (1939)
    Inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame (1989)
    Nicknamed 'Mrs. Swing'
    She was married and divorced three times.
    Her second husband was a bootlegger who helped get her gigs in speakeasies.
    She was reportedly hired by Paul Whiteman as much for her knowledge of how to home brew beer (a useful talent during Prohibition) as for her singing.
    She weighed 200 pounds.
    She was bitter about other female singers, who she felt were not as talented as her but became bigger stars because of their svelte figures.
    She got Bing Crosby his first big break with Whiteman's band and introduced him to the music of Louis Armstrong and other black jazz musicians.
    Crosby called her 'A genuine artist, with a heart as big as the Yankee Stadium, and a gal who really loved to laugh it up.'
    She performed a benefit concert for the Scottsboro Boys.
    When her health failed from diabetes and her money ran out, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen paid her medical bills.
    She influenced singers Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Rosemary Clooney.

Credit: C. Fishel

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