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Jo Stafford

Jo Elizabeth Stafford (born November 12, 1917) was a traditional pop singer.

Table of contents
1 Early life
2 The Pied Pipers
3 Jo Stafford, solo
4 List of songs
5 External links

Early life

Jo was born in Coalinga, California to Grover Cleveland Stafford and Anna York Stafford, a distant cousin of Sergeant Alvin York. She wanted originally to become an opera singer. To that end she studied classical vocal music when she was young. Because of the economic depression of 1929, she gave up those plans and joined her sisters Christine and Pauline in a popular vocal group. The group performed on Los Angeles radio staton KHJ.

The Pied Pipers

When her sisters got married, the group broke up and Jo joined a new vocal group, The Pied Pipers. This group consisted of eight members: John Huddleston (who was Jo Stafford's husband at the time), Hal Hooper, Chuck Lowry, Bud Hervey, George Tait, Woody Newbury, and Dick Whittinghill, besides Stafford. The group became very popular, working on local radio and movie soundtracks, and caught the attention of two of Tommy Dorsey's arrangers, Axel Stordahl and Paul Weston.

In 1938 Weston persuaded Dorsey to sign The Pied Pipers for his radio show, and they went to New York for one broadcast date. Dorsey liked them enough to sign them for ten weeks, but after the second broadcast the sponsor heard them and disliked them, firing the group. They stayed in New York for three months, but got only one job that paid them only $3.60 each, though they did record 4 sides for RCA Victor Records.

Returning to Los Angeles (minus 4 of the 8, who got other jobs), they had a difficult time trying to make a living, but in 1939 they got an offer from Dorsey to join his big band. This led to success for the whole group, but especially for Jo, who was featured in some solo performances apart from the other Pied Pipers. The group also backed up Frank Sinatra in some of his early recordings.

In 1942 they had an argument with Dorsey and left, but in 1943 became one of the early signees of Johnny Mercer's new Capitol Records company. Capitol's music director was the same Paul Weston who had been instrumental in introducing her to Dorsey, ahd the two got along so well that it led to their marriage in 1952.

Jo Stafford, solo

In 1944 Jo left the Pied Pipers to go solo, doing a lot of performances for military personnel and came to be called "G. I. Jo." In 1950 she left Capitol for CBS Records, returning to Capitol in 1961. CBS gave her an award as the first recording artist to sell twenty-five million records.

In 1966 Jo went into semi-retirement, retiring completely from the music business in 1975 except for one appearance in 1990 to honor Sinatra.

She had two husbands, John Huddleston (of the original Pied Pipers) and Weston, the latter of whom was also her orchestra leader for most of her career. By Weston she had two children, Tim and Amy.

Besides the records she made in her own name, she also made comedy records as Cinderella G. Stump (with Red Ingle and the Natural Seven) and Darlene Edwards (with Paul Weston using the name Jonathan Edwards).

List of songs


with Gordon MacRae

with Johnny Mercer

External links