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Ruth Etting Facts

Ruth Etting: From Shoeshiner to Iconic Jazz Singer

The Early Years of Ruth Etting

Ruth Etting was born on November 23, 1897, in David City, Nebraska. She grew up in a modest family, and by the age of five, her father had walked out on the family. To make ends meet, her mother worked as a milliner while Ruth helped out by shining shoes. In 1912, the family moved to Chicago which became the center of jazz at the time.

Age and Personal Life

Ruth Etting lived a long and fulfilled life, passing away at the age of 80 on September 24, 1978. Throughout her career, she had been in several romantic relationships. In the late 1920s, she was seeing Martin “Moe” Snyder, a prominent gangster, who had a hand in her success in the music industry. In 1938, she married Moe, but the marriage quickly turned sour and ended in 1942. Ruth Etting had no children during her lifetime.

Height and Physical Appearance

At 5’2″ tall, Ruth Etting was significantly shorter compared to other artists in the music industry. Her petite stature, coupled with her unique voice, made her a standout in the industry. Throughout her career, she was recognized for her sophisticated and refined look. Her signature hairstyle of the ’20s, the bob, was popularized after she famously chopped off her hair.

Career Overview of Ruth Etting

Ruth Etting started her career in Chicago by singing on the radio. Her performances caught the attention of some of the biggest names in the Chicago music scene, and she soon found herself performing at famous venues such as the Blackhawk restaurant. In 1926, she was offered a recording contract by the Victor Talking Machine Company. In 1929, she made her film debut in the movie “Hollywood Revue of 1929.” From there, she continued to rise to fame, and by the early 1930s, she was one of the most popular singers in America.

Top Songs by Ruth Etting

Throughout her career, Ruth Etting released multiple hit songs. Her most famous tune was “Love Me or Leave Me,” which was released in 1928. Other popular songs by Etting include “Button Up Your Overcoat,” “Shine on, Harvest Moon,” and “Ten Cents a Dance.”

Net Worth of Ruth Etting

During her career, Ruth Etting amassed an impressive net worth. She made most of her fortune through her live performances, recording contracts, and films. At the time of her death, her net worth was estimated to be $3 million.

Ruth Etting FAQs

What Was Ruth Etting’s Vocal Range?

Ruth Etting’s unique singing voice was characterized by her ability to sing in both a light, sweet timbre and a strong, powerful chest range. Her vocal range spanned from E3 to C6.

Why Was Ruth Etting Called the “Sweetheart of the Radio?”

Ruth Etting was given the nickname “Sweetheart of the Radio” due to her frequent radio performances, which made her a well-known voice across America.

Why Did Ruth Etting Turn to Acting?

Ruth Etting’s main passion was music, but during her career, she turned to acting because of her success singing in films. She appeared in multiple movies, including “Hollywood Revue of 1929” and “Gift of Gab.”

What is Ruth Etting’s Legacy in the Music Industry?

Ruth Etting’s unique voice and iconic style have made her an influential figure in the history of jazz and pop music. She was one of the pioneers of the new romantic music style of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Did Ruth Etting Ever Performed Outside of the United States?

Ruth Etting performed across Europe, particularly in London, England, after being signed to HMV in 1926.

Was Ruth Etting Involved in Controversy?

Ruth Etting was not directly involved in any controversies during her career. However, her association with her gangster boyfriend Martin “Moe” Snyder did raise some eyebrows.

What Was Ruth Etting’s Role in Women’s Advancement?

Ruth Etting was a pioneer for women in the music industry, and her success paved the way for other female artists to follow. She pushed for higher pay and better working conditions for women in both live performances and films.

What Was Ruth Etting’s Reputation in the Industry?

Ruth Etting was generally well-respected in the music industry and was known for her professionalism and dedication to her craft. Her unique singing style, combined with her sophisticated persona, made her a beloved figure in American pop culture.

What Did Ruth Etting Do After Retiring?

After retiring from show business in 1950, Ruth Etting lived a quiet life with her husband, Moe. She devoted her time to caring for her extensive art collection and lived in relative anonymity until her death in 1978.

Did Ruth Etting Win Any Awards or Honors?

Ruth Etting was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1979, a year after her death. In 1986, she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

What Was Ruth Etting’s Connection With the Famous Song “Ten Cents a Dance?”

“Ten Cents a Dance,” written by Rodgers and Hart and released in 1930, was one of Ruth Etting’s most famous songs. She performed it in Ziegfeld Follies of 1931. The song is about a dance hall girl who is selling herself for ten cents a dance.

Was Ruth Etting’s Career Impactful?

Ruth Etting’s career was highly impactful, not just on the music industry but on American pop culture as a whole. Her unique style and voice were beloved by fans across the country, and she paved the way for future female artists.

What Challenges Did Ruth Etting Face During Her Career?

Ruth Etting faced several challenges during her career, including sexism and a lack of control over her performances and recordings. However, she never let these obstacles hold her back and continued to pursue her passion for music.

What Is Ruth Etting’s Place in Music History?

Ruth Etting is remembered as one of the pioneers of jazz and pop music during the 1920s and ’30s. Her unique singing style, refined persona, and contribution to the development of the music during her time have secured her place in music history.

What Was Ruth Etting’s Last Performance?

Ruth Etting’s final performance took place in 1955 on a televised program called The Big Record. She sang a solo rendition of her hit song “Shine on, Harvest Moon.”

How Did Ruth Etting’s Career Inspire Other Artists?

Ruth Etting’s successful career paved the way for future female artists, who had the courage to pursue their dreams and passion for music. Her unique singing style, combined with her refined persona, inspired other singers to embrace their individuality and authenticity.

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