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Ruth Etting

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 23rd, 1896 (David City), Died September 24th, 1978 (Colorado Springs)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1924 - 1937

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, songwriter, composer, lyricist

Recordings (Results 151-163 of 163 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Brunswick E30036 10-in. June 1929 Maybe—who knows Carl Fenton’s Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo; without vocal (take G) songwriter  
Brunswick E30313 10-in. 7/8/1929 Maybe—who knows? Eddy Thomas Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band songwriter  
Brunswick E25874-E25876 10-in. 1/7/1928 When you’re with somebody else Bernie Cummins Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo; without vocal (E25876) composer  
Edison 18243 10-in. 2/17/1928 When you're with somebody else Florida Four Jazz/dance quartet, with male vocal solo composer  
Edison N-994 10-in. 7/2/1929 Maybe—who knows? Melville Morris ; Piccadilly Players Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo songwriter  
Decca 61477 10-in. 12/12/1936 Goodnight my love Ruth Etting vocalist  
Decca 61478 10-in. 12/12/1936 In the chapel in the moonlight Ruth Etting vocalist  
Decca 61479 10-in. 12/12/1936 There's something in the air Ruth Etting vocalist  
Decca 61480 10-in. 12/12/1936 May I have the next romance with you? Ruth Etting vocalist  
Decca 62090 10-in. 4/1/1937 It's swell of you Ruth Etting vocalist  
Decca 62091 10-in. 4/1/1937 On a little dream ranch Ruth Etting vocalist  
Decca 62092 10-in. 4/1/1937 There's a lull in my life Ruth Etting vocalist  
Decca 62103 10-in. 4/5/1937 A message from the man in the moon Ruth Etting vocalist  
(Results 151-163 of 163 records)


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Etting, Ruth," accessed June 20, 2021,

Etting, Ruth. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 20, 2021, from

"Etting, Ruth." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 20 June 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier



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