Elizabeth Stafford was born November 12, 1917 in Coalinga, California, who as a youth had ambitions of being an opera singer. Jo Stafford known for the purity of her voice would with her two older sisters Pauline and Christine become the Stafford Sisters, featured on Los Angeles radio station KHJ.
In the late 1930’s Jo joined the Pied Pipers, a singing group with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra. In 1944 she would go solo becoming host of an NBC radio musical variety show, the Chesterfield Supper Club.
In twenty five years Jo Stafford landed on the Hit Parade a total of 92 times with 32 top ten hits. In 1944 recording for Capitol Records, “I Love You,” “Long Ago and Far Away” and “It Could Happen To You” were top ten. Teaming up with Johnny Mercer, Jo also hit the top of the charts with “Candy” in 1945.
In the last half of the 40’s, “Symphony,” “Feudin’ And Fightin,” “Serenade of the Bells,” “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” reached the top ten. In 1948 Stafford and singing star Gordon MacRae had million-seller’s with “My Darling, My Darling” and “Whispering Hope”.
Joining Columbia Records in 1950, Jo Stafford became a world wide singing star with “No Other Love,” “Goodnight Irene” and her version of “The Tennessee Waltz”. In 1951, “It Is No Secret,” “Pretty Eyed Baby” and “Shrimp Boats” were top ten. “You Belong To Me,” “Jambalaya” and “Keep It A Secret” reached the top ten in 1952.
In 1954 Jo’s multi-million selling “Make Love To Me” topped the Hit Parade and was 24 weeks on the best selling chart. “Thank You For Calling” and “Teach Me Tonight” were hits during the same year with “It’s Almost Tomorrow” a year later.
Jo Stafford is also considered a pioneer of modern musical parody, having won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album in 1961 with husband Paul Weston for their album “Jonathan and Darlene Edwards in Paris.”
Jo Stafford, in ill health and hospitalized several times for congestive heart failure, died at 90 years of age on Sunday July 13, 2008 at her home in Century City, California. She was buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.[
She was nominated in the Best Female Singer category at the 1955 Emmy Award and Stafford’s version of “You Belong to Me” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2009 Joe Stafford was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. [