Giovanna Carmella Babbo was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 22, 1930. Upon graduating from high school, she joined a local dance group that led to a position as a chorus girl at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in the windy city but soon she decided to pursue a singing career with the name Joni James.
Discovered after her appearance in a television commercial by MGM talent scouts, she was signed to a recording contract in 1952 that produced her first million seller, “Why Don’t You Believe Me,” followed by Hit Parade chart toppers “Have You Heard,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “My Love, My Love” and “You’re Fooling Someone.”
In the mid 1950’s Joni’s “How Important Can It Be”, “You Are My Love”, “There Goes My Heart” and “There Must Be A Way” contributed to her having sold more than 100 million records.
Joni James landed on the Hit Parade a total of 31 times in the 50’s.
She was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009.