Mildred Rinker Bailey (Tekoa27 February 1907 - Poughkeepsie12 december 1951) was an American jazz singer from the swingera. She was popular in the 1930s and had several number-one hits. She was the first white woman who had success in the jazz .

Mildred Bailey began her career as a teenager: she sang and played piano in silent films in movie theaters. After the breakdown of her marriage to Ted Bailey retained them his last name. With the help of her second husband, Benny Stafford, she became a successful jazz-and blues-singer to the American west coast. In 1929, she was adopted by bandleader Paul Whiteman and became the first female singer in a jazz band. She made her debut in the popular radio show by Whiteman with "Moaning Low" and had immediate success. They would work with Whiteman until 1933: she left the band with her third husband, the vibraphonist Red Norvo because of disagreement over the salary.

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Bailey made her first recording in 1929, with the band of guitarist Eddie Long. In 1932 she had her first hit with "Georgia on My Mind", written by Hoagy Carmichael. In 1932 she recorded for the first time "Rockin' Chair", which was also a composition of Carmichael. It became her theme-song: she was also called the "Rockin' Chair Lady ' mentioned. In 1933, she was in the recording studio with the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra (the recordings appeared on Brunswick) and a year later she made recordings withBenny Goodman 's (a group including saxophonist Coleman Hawkins).

In the second half of the thirties, she had a group with Red Norvo. The band performed at CBS radio, where the couple was announced as Mr. and Mrs. Swing. With the group she created plates for Vocalionunder more, but she was also in the studio with members of the band of Count Basie. In 1938, she was twice on the first place of the u.s. charts: with "Please Be Kind" and "Says My Heart", both songs with Norvo. After her divorce from Norvo she would still make plates with him. In 1940 she took the first place with "Darn That Dream", with the Orchestra of Benny Goodman.

During the Second World War was the Bailey in studio with pianist Teddy Wilson and Louis Armstrong. In the mid-1940s, she had a radio show at CBS. Bailey had health problems (she was obese and had diabetes) and took over after the war very little on. In 1951 she had a tour break off and be included in the hospital, where she died of heart failure.


  • Ms. Swing (recordings 1929-1947), Proper
  • First Lady of Swing: Live (recorded december 1944), Mr. Music
  • Me and the Blues (footage of Eddie Sauter and Ellis Larkins, 1946-1947), Savoy
  • Mildred Bailey 1943-1945, Classics
  • Mildred Bailey 1945-1947, Classics

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