Annette Hanshaw Biography

18 October 1901, New York City, New York, USA, d. 12 March 1985. In 1926 Hanshaw, who had no particular ambitions to be a professional singer, was heard by an executive of Pathé Records and offered a recording contract. For the next eight years she made numerous records, radio broadcasts and film appearances before tiring of the showbusiness life. Although immensely popular, she decided to retire and married the executive, Herman Rose, who had launched her unexpected career. In 1959, by now a widow and working outside music, she was contacted by the British record enthusiasts Brian Rust and Tony Skyrme, who were eager to detail her life and arrange for the reissue of many of her long-deleted but fondly remembered records. The subsequent reappearance of these albums sparked a revival of interest in her work, particularly in the UK.

Hanshaw’s voice was soft and sweet, quite unlike that of the more acerbic Ruth Etting who had been her main rival in the late 20s. Although she had no pretensions to sing jazz, and indeed, never did, Hanshaw’s accompanists included many of the best white jazzmen of the day. Consequently, while some fans collect her records for the nostalgic glow that her sentimental singing creates, others do so in order to hear brief solos by the likes of Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Eddie Lang, Red Nichols and Miff Mole.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.