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Jo Stafford

Jo Elizabeth Stafford (November 12, 1917 – July 16, 2008) was an American traditional pop music singer and occasional actress, whose career spanned five decades from the late 1930s to the early 1980s. Admired for the purity of her voice, she originally underwent classical training to become an opera singer before following a career in popular music, and by 1955 had achieved more worldwide record sales than any other female artist. Her 1952 song "You Belong to Me" topped the charts in the United States and United Kingdom, the record becoming the first by a female artist to reach number one on the UK Singles Chart.

Born in Coalinga, California, Stafford made her first musical appearance at age 12. While still at high school, she joined her two older sisters to form a vocal trio named the Stafford Sisters, who found moderate success on radio and in film. In 1938, while the sisters were part of the cast of Twentieth Century Fox's production of Alexander's Ragtime Band, Stafford met the future members of the Pied Pipers and became the group's lead singer. Bandleader Tommy Dorsey hired them in 1939 to perform back-up vocals for his orchestra.

In addition to her recordings with the Pied Pipers, Stafford featured in solo performances for Dorsey. After leaving the group in 1944, she recorded a series of pop standards for Capitol Records and Columbia Records. Many of her recordings were backed by the orchestra of Paul Weston. She also performed duets with Gordon MacRae and Frankie Laine. Her work with the United Service Organizations giving concerts for soldiers during World War II earned her the nickname "G.I. Jo". Starting in 1945, Stafford was a regular host of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) radio series The Chesterfield Supper Club and later appeared in television specials—including two series called The Jo Stafford Show, in 1954 in the U.S. and in 1961 in the U.K.

Stafford married twice, first in 1937 to musician John Huddleston (the couple divorced in 1943), then in 1952 to Paul Weston, with whom she had two children. Weston and she developed a comedy routine in which they assumed the identity of an incompetent lounge act named Jonathan and Darlene Edwards, parodying well-known songs. The act proved popular at parties and among the wider public when the couple released an album as the Edwardses in 1957. In 1961, the album Jonathan and Darlene Edwards in Paris won Stafford her only Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album, and was the first commercially successful parody album. Stafford largely retired as a performer in the mid-1960s, but continued in the music business. She had a brief resurgence in popularity in the late 1970s when she recorded a cover of the Bee Gees hit, "Stayin' Alive" as Darlene Edwards. In the 1990s, she began re-releasing some of her material through Corinthian Records, a label founded by Weston. She died in 2008 in Century City, Los Angeles, and is interred with Weston at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City. Her work in radio, television, and music is recognized by three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Birth and Death Data: Born November 12th, 1917 (Coalinga), Died July 13th, 2008 (Los Angeles)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1941 - 1968

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist

Recordings (Results 26-50 of 54 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 120333 4/23/1956 Sleigh ride Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 120334 4/14/1955 Happy holiday Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 120335 4/29/1955 The Christmas song Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 120336 4/29/1955 'Twas the night before Christmas Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 120337 4/29/1955 Toyland Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 120338 5/13/1955 O come, O come Emmanuel Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 120339 5/16/1955 O little town of Bethlehem Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 120340 5/16/1955 Silent night, Holy night Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 120492 7/5/1968 Let it snow! Let it snow! Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 120726 2/19/1952 Spring is here Paul Weston Orchestra ; Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 121070 1/18/1952 September in the rain Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 121071 8/8/1958 It could happen to you Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 121072 9/21/1955 As I love you Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 121073 3/9/1955 I cover the waterfront Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 121074 12/26/1957 Love for sale Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 121075 12/26/1957 Old devil moon Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 121076 Teach me tonight Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 121077 12/18/1953 Don't get around much anymore Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 121078 9/12/1952 Night and day Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 121079 2/20/1959 Blues in the night Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 122089 1/18/1952 I'm in the mood for love Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 122090 2/15/1952 Blue moon Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 122092 8/1/1958 I should care Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 122093 6/27/1952 Embraceable you Jo Stafford vocalist  
Decca 122094 9/26/1952 They say it's wonderful Jo Stafford vocalist  
(Results 26-50 of 54 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Stafford, Jo," accessed February 27, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103383.

Stafford, Jo. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved February 27, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103383.

"Stafford, Jo." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 27 February 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103383

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