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Site History

Ella Fitzgerald: 1917 - 1996 first launched as a memorial tribute to the First Lady of Song shortly following her death on June 15, 1996. The site was initially conceived by Will Friedwald, respected jazz critic and author, and webchick, an impassioned independent content developer, as a means to rectify the alarming paucity of quality content on the web devoted to Ella and the music she loved.

The site was enthusiastically received as soon as it was launched, resulting in a spontaneous online community of music fans. The creators were inundated by a genuine outpouring of emotion and grief in the form of e-mail, images and sound bites from Ella fans the world over. This sparked the instant evolution of the site from the two-person production it was into the collaborative appreciation it is today.

In an effort to meet the growing demands of increased popularity, the creators decided to move the site to Jazz Central Station, an online jazz community created by N2K. Both parties agreed that the ownership, focus and intent of the Ella site would not change; the site would remain an independent appreciation to The First Lady of Song. It would simply reach a much higher concentration of music fans than ever before by being hosted on the N2K network. The added bonus of alleviating mounting administrative tasks was also attractive to the bootstrapped Web developers. So, they agreed to the conditions (the site was modified to link into the Music Boulevard CD catalog, another N2K-owned enterprise) and moved ELLA to her new home in 1997. Unfortunately, the site disappeared from the Web without a trace and without warning one year later when N2K merged with CDnow.

On August 11, 2000, the site was rescued by media.org, an online collective of artists/netizens concerned about preserving and creating quality online content. With the exception of updating links, the site is preserved in its original state.

Refusing to be another Web fatality statistic, this site continues in the spirit it was originally intended: a labor of love. Enjoy...

- http://museum.media.org/ella/


Site Credits

Many individuals invested their time, talents and experiences in the construction of this site. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank them now...

Text Express Will Friedwald
space Content direction and resident music maven.

Text Express webchick
space Creative direction and site design.

Text Express Becknell and Lucas Media
space Broadcast programming and audio production.

Text Express EnviroMedia, Inc.
space Site programming and coordination.

Text Express Jazz Central Station
space Site patron, hosting from 1997 - 1998.

Text Express Shepard Poorman Communications (no longer online)
space Site patron, hosting during 1996.

Text Express Special thanks to the legions of Ella fans
space whose contributions make this site truly special.


The GAS Audio Edition was produced by Becknell and Lucas Media in association with Enviromedia, edited telephone interview with Will Friedwald conducted by Marty Lucas on August 16, 1996, engineered by Corinne Becknell. ©Becknell and Lucas Media, all rights reserved



Internet Underground...
“This beautifully designed site is a fitting tribute to Ella, the jazz legend with the world's most beautiful voice, who died earlier this year. During her lifetime, Ella recorded an unparalleled collection of work by the great American songwriters, revolutionized jazz singing and was considered the "first lady of song." The essays by Will Friedwald and other fans are all well-written and touching, but the finest part of the site is the thorough discography and musical samples, which allow anyone to experience Ella in all of her glory.”

DesignACE Award: The ELLA site is dedicated to the memory of Ella Fitzgerald, perhaps the greatest singer in the history of the United States. The color palette, backgrounds, and animated GIF graphics form a quality style that presents superb content. This is the sort of work that is born of the personal initiative of a single designer, without having to balance the views and needs of a client against one's own talent and plan.”

“Finally, a memorial to Ella Fitzgerald, the 'First Lady of Song,' who passed away recently at age 78. Increasingly it seems the web offers people around the world the chance to come together and gracefully mark the passing of those who have added something to their lives: musicians, artists, authors, celebrities, sixties folk heroes, among others. Such is the case with Will Friedwald's appreciation of Ella, which began as an essay for a program book of a forthcoming tribute to take place at Carnegie Hall on July 9th and 10th. After Miss Fitzgerald's death, the essay found its way online and includes a discography, liner notes, sound samplers and rememberances by fans.”

“A potent mix of factual data, emotional tributes, and expert design, this homage to jazz' greatest vocalist succeeds on many levels. A large assortment of features and book excerpts provides an excellent profile, while eight pages of fans' commentary puts her influence and esteem in proper perspective. The selected discography offers a well-rounded look at her vast library of recordings; producer Will Friedwald offers his own insights and opinions, highlighting his favorite works with liner notes and track listings. The site includes an in-depth recap of the July 1996 Carnegie Hall tribute, which featured a wealth of jazz talent.”


Internet Professional Publishers Association
DesignACE Award Winner, September 11 1996

c|net's Best Of The Web November 20 1996
Internet Underground 5 Star Site, October 1996

Magellan 4 Star Site, August 8 1996

MSN's Pick of the Day, June 20 1996

Yahoo's Pick of the Week, June 24 1996

NCSA What's New Top 5, June 24 1996

Project Cool's Daily Cool Sighting, June 26 1996

CSotD's Iso-topically Cool ART Site, June 18 1996

Aardvark's Cool Link of the Week, June 28 1996

Reviewed on PRN Radio Network, June 22 1996

 This site rescued by media.org.space