Published on Jul 10, 2013
Ruth Etting (Nov.23,1896 – Sept.24,1978) was an American singing star of the 1930s, who had over sixty hit recordings.
Her signature tunes were “Shine On Harvest Moon“, “Ten Cents a Dance” and “Love Me or Leave Me“, and her other popular recordings included “Button Up Your Overcoat“, “Mean to Me”, “Exactly like you”, and “Shaking the Blues Away”.
Rising to fame in the twenties and early thirties, Ruth Etting was renowned for her great beauty, her gorgeous voice and her tragic life. She starred on Broadway, made movies in Hollywood, married a mobster, had numerous hit-records, fell in love and was known as America’s Sweetheart of Song.
Born in David City, Nebraska, Ruth left home at seventeen for Chicago and art school. She got a job designing costumes at a night club called the Marigold Gardens and when the tenor got sick, she was pulled into the show since she was the only one who could sing low enough. That led to dancing in the chorus line and eventually featured solos. Her career in costume design and art was soon forgotten.
The blond hair and blue eyes and stunning voice all led to her being dubbed the Sweetheart of Columbia Records, America’s Radio Sweetheart, and finally America’s Sweetheart of Song. She began to experiment with tempo and phrasing during this period in her career. Her trademark was to change the tempo – alternating between normal tempo, half-time and double-time to create and maintain interest.
Ruth Etting made her first record in 1926 and her last in 1937. Completely lacking in the performer’s ego, she called her early recordings corny and kept none of her original 78’s. In 1955 her story was made into a movie, ultimately nominated for six Academy Awards and winning the Award for Best Story.
Ruth Etting died on September 24 1978, in Colorado Springs.
Ruth Etting – Love Me Or Leave Me (1929)