Ella: High Points

1934 In her first stage performance, Ella Fitzgerald wins an Amateur Night competition at the Apollo Theater.

1936 Ella's first recording, "Love and Kisses," is released on Decca Records.

1938 Ella's first Number One single is "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," a novelty number recorded for an Abbott and Costello movie in which she appears.

1955 Ella becomes the first African-American to perform at the legendary Mocambo nightclub, after Marilyn Monroe lobbies on Ella's behalf.

1958 At the first-ever Grammy awards banquet, Ella wins Best Female Vocal Performance (for The Irving Berlin Songbook) and Best Individual Jazz Performance (for The Duke Ellington Songbook).

1959 Ella wins more Grammys, this time for Best Female Vocal Performance ("But Not For Me") and Best Individual Jazz Performance (Ella Swings Lightly). Over the next 32 years, she'll go on to win a total of 14 Grammys, including the Bing Crosby Lifetime Achievement award in 1967.

1960 She is awarded an honorary membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha, the oldest and largest African-American sorority in the United States.

1965 Ella receives the first ASCAP award in recognition of an artist.

1974 The University of Maryland names its new 1,200-seat concert hall the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts.

1979 She's feted in a Kennedy Center Honors tribute.

1987 "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" is entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

1996 Ella dies on June 15 at the age of 78.

2007 The U.S. Postal Service issues an Ella Fitzgerald First-Class postage stamp.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela