Ruth Etting (November 23, 1896 – September 24, 1978) was an American singing star and actress of the 1920s and 1930s, who had over 60 hit recordings and worked in stage, radio, and film. Known as "America's sweetheart of song", her signature tunes were "Shine On, Harvest Moon", "Ten Cents a Dance" and "Love Me or Leave Me". Her other popular recordings included "Button Up Your Overcoat", "Mean to Me", "Exactly Like You" and "Shaking the Blues Away".
As a young girl in Nebraska, Etting had wanted to be an artist; she drew and sketched everywhere she was able. At sixteen, her grandparents decided to send her to art school in Chicago. While Etting attended class, she found a job at the Marigold Gardens nightclub; after a short time there, Etting gave up art classes in favor of a career in show business. Etting, who enjoyed singing in school and church, never took voice lessons. She quickly became a featured vocalist at the club. Etting was then managed by Moe Snyder, whom she married in 1922. Snyder made arrangements for Etting's recording and film contracts as well as her personal and radio appearances. She became nationally known when she appeared in Flo Ziegfeld's Follies of 1927.
Etting intended to retire from performing in 1935, but this did not happen until after her divorce from Snyder in 1937. Harry Myrl Alderman, Etting's pianist, was separated from his wife when he and Etting began a relationship. Snyder did not like seeing his former wife in the company of other men and began making telephone threats to Etting in January 1938. By October, Snyder traveled to Los Angeles and detained Alderman after he left a local radio station; he forced the pianist to take him to the home of his ex-wife at gunpoint. Saying he intended to kill Etting, Alderman, and his own daughter, Edith, who worked for Etting, Snyder shot Alderman. Three days after Alderman was shot, his wife filed suit against Etting for alienation of affections.
While Alderman and Etting claimed to have been married in Mexico in July 1938, Alderman's divorce would not be final until December of that year. The couple was married during Moe Snyder's trial for attempted murder in December 1938. Etting and Alderman relocated to a farm outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado, where they were primarily out of the spotlight for most of their lives. Her fictionalized story was told in the 1955 film Love Me Or Leave Me with Doris Day as Ruth Etting and James Cagney as Snyder.
Birth and Death Data: Born November 23, 1896 (David City), Died September 24, 1978 (Colorado Springs)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1924 - 1937
Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, songwriter, composer, lyricist
= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 163 records)
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||BVE-37285||10-in.||12/22/1926||Wistful and blue||Paul Whiteman Orchestra||Orchestra, with male vocal duet||lyricist|
|Victor||BVE-42532||10-in.||3/3/1928||When you're with somebody else||Shilkret's Rhyth-Melodists||Instrumental ensemble||composer|
|Victor||BVE-43120||10-in.||2/29/1928||When you're with somebody else||Paul Whiteman Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||MVE-48076||16-in.||11/17/1928||Ruth Etting||Ruth Etting||Motion picture soundtrack (Film to wax transfer) : Female vocal solo||vocalist|
|Victor||BVE-49430||10-in.||6/14/1929||Maybe! Who knows?||Charles Dornberger Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||songwriter|
|Victor||BVE-53587||10-in.||6/26/1929||Maybe, who knows?||Gene Austin||Male vocal solo, with orchestra||songwriter|
|Victor||[Trial 1924-04-04-02]||10-in.||4/4/1924||Sure as you're born||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W141670||10-in.||2/11/1926||Nothing else to do||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W141671||10-in.||2/11/1926||Let's talk about my sweetie||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W141961||10-in.||4/14/1926||There's nothing sweeter than a sweet, sweet, sweetie||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W141962||10-in.||4/14/1926||What a man||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W141963||10-in.||4/14/1926||You've got those "wanna go back again" blues||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W141964||10-in.||4/14/1926||So is your old lady||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W141968||10-in.||4/14/1926||Lonesome and sorry||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W141969||10-in.||4/14/1926||Could I? I certainly could||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W141970||10-in.||4/15/1926||But I do—you know I do||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W141971||10-in.||4/15/1926||Stars||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W142400||10-in.||7/7/1926||That's why I love you||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W142401||10-in.||7/7/1926||I ain't got nobody||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W142402||10-in.||7/7/1926||Stars||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W142418||10-in.||7/12/1926||Precious||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W142419||10-in.||7/12/1926||Her beaus are only rainbows||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W142449||10-in.||7/27/1926||Hello baby||Art Kahn Orchestra ; Ruth Etting||Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo||vocalist|
|Columbia||W142504||10-in.||7/28/1926||Looking at the world thru' rose-colored glasses||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with alto saxophone and piano||vocalist|
|Columbia||W142505||10-in.||7/28/1926||The good bad girl||Ruth Etting||Female vocal solo, with alto saxophone and piano||vocalist|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Etting, Ruth," accessed August 10, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103913.
Etting, Ruth. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 10, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103913.
"Etting, Ruth." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 10 August 2022.
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