Awards

Ella Fitzgerald received hundreds of awards and honors during her career and the following is by no means a comprehensive list. If there is an achievement you feel needs to be added to this page, please contact us.

1934
Won Amateur Night competition at the Apollo Theater

1935
Won one week of performing at the Harlem Opera House

1937
Top Female Vocalist, Down Beat magazine

1938
First No. 1 song, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket"

1954
Best Female Vocalist, Metronome magazine
Best Female Vocalist, Down Beat magazine (both readers' poll and critics' poll)

1956
All Star Female, Metronome magazine

1958
First Grammy awards held; won Best Female Vocal Performance for "The Irving Berlin Songbook" (album) and Best Individual Jazz Performance for T"he Duke Ellington Songbook" (album)

1959
Grammy awards, Best Female Vocal Performance for "But Not For Me" and Best Individual Jazz Performance for "Ella Swings Lightly"

1960
Honorary membership to Alpha Kappa Alpha, the oldest and largest African-American sorority in the United States
Grammy awards, Best Female Vocal Performance (single) for "Mack the Knife" and Best Female Vocal Performance (album) for "Ella in Berlin"

1962
Grammy award, Best Female Solo Vocal Performance for "Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson Riddle"

1965
Received first ASCAP award in recognition of an artist

1967
Grammy award, Bing Crosby Lifetime Achievement award
Honorary chairmanship of the newly formed Martin Luther King Foundation

1974
University of Maryland names its new $1.6 million, 1,200-seat theater and concert hall the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts

1976
(April 11) Ella Fitzgerald Day in Los Angeles
Honorary Doctorate in Music from Dartmouth College
Award of Distinction from National Association of Sickle Cell Diseases
Women at Work organization's Bicentennial Woman
Grammy award, Best Jazz Vocal Performance for "Fitzgerald and Pass…Again" (album)

1979
Grammy award, Best Jazz Vocal Performance for "Fine and Mellow" (album)
Kennedy Center Honors

1980
Will Rogers award from the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association
Honorary Doctor of Music from Howard University
Lord & Taylor Rose award for her outstanding contribution to music
Doctor of Human Letters from Talladega College of Alabama
Grammy award, Best Female Jazz Vocal Performance for "A Perfect Match; Ella and Basie" (album)

1981

Grammy award, Best Female Jazz Vocal Performance for "Digital III at Montreux" (album)

1982
Hasty Pudding Club Woman of the Year

1983
Peabody Award for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America
Grammy award, Best Female Jazz Vocal Performance for "The Best Is Yet to Come" (album)

1987
"A-Tisket, A-Tasket" entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame
UCLA Medal for Musical Achievements
National Medal of Arts

1988
NAACP Image award for Lifetime Achievement

1990
Grammy award, Best Female Jazz Vocal Performance for All That Jazz (album)
Commander of Arts and Letters (France)
Honorary Doctor of Music from Princeton University

1992
Miss Fitzgerald was awarded America's highest non-military honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Discovered as a teenager at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, Ella Fitzgerald and her swing style of vocal jazz transcend the times. Her trademark scat captivates audiences, and as a cultural ambassador, her impressive vocal range stretches across oceans and political boundaries. Honored by the Kennedy Center for her lifetime achievements, inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame, and awarded the National Medal of Arts, it is fitting that the United States honors this "First Lady of Song"

2007
U.S. Postal Service unveils the 2007 Ella Fitzgerald Commemorative Stamp