Graham Reid | | <1 min read
Annie Ross -- who died in 2020 at 89 -- had an extraordinary career for a kid born Annabelle Short into a family of vaudevillians in London. When she was four, the family migrated to New York and by the time she was 15 she'd performed with Paul Whiteman, moved to Los Angeles, played Judy Garland's younger sister in the movie Presenting Lily Mars and had changed her name to Annie Ross.
She then performed in Europe, signed to Prestige as a jazz singer and writer, and the day after she'd put her name on the contract turned up with this piece in which she had written lyrics for a Wardell Gray instrumental.
It's a tongue-twister and shows what an artist she was.
She also lived high -- she was briefly Lennie Bruce's partner -- and after being part of the famous Hendricks, Lambert and Ross vocal group in the late Fifties/early Sixties (during which time she adopted heroin) she opened a club in London, appeared in movies and on stage . . .
A decade or so ago there was doco about her life, No One But Me (see clip) and she was looking good.
For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.