Hotta Chocolatta and Oh Lady Be Good

Ella Fitzgerald – 1957

Ella in prime form on the Ed Sullivan Show

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Ella Fitzgerald could be said to have been in her musical prime for over 35 years (at least during 1942-77) but she was in particularly top form during the second half of the 1950s.

She was a month shy of her 40th birthday when she appeared on the Ed Sullivan in March 1957.

Ella begins with a novelty song, “Hotta Chocolatta,” that she makes listenable through her phrasing, scatting, and enthusiasm.

She follows that with “Lady Be Good” which she had first recorded a decade earlier in a very memorable scat-filled rendition.

This version is similar, particularly during the first four of its six choruses, but Ella comes up with some fresh variations and the result is another classic.

-Scott Yanow


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