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Annette Hanshaw
Birth name Annette Hanshaw
Born October 18, 1901(1901-10-18)
Origin United States
Died March 13, 1985 (aged 83)
Genres Jazz
Occupations Singer
Instruments Vocals
Associated acts Ethel Waters
Bessie Smith

Annette Hanshaw (October 18, 1901 – March 13, 1985) was one of the first popular female jazz singers. In the late 1920s she ranked alongside Ethel Waters, Bessie Smith and the Boswell Sisters.



Her singing style was relaxed and suited to the new jazz-influenced pop music of the late 1920s. Although she had a low opinion of her own singing, she continued to have fans because she combined the voice of an ingenue with the spirit of a flapper. Hanshaw was known as "The Personality Girl," and her trademark was saying "That's all," in a childish voice at the end of many of her records. [1]

Between September 1926 and February 1934, she recorded prolifically. From 1926–28 she recorded for Pathe (her sides were released on both the Pathe and Perfect labels). Starting in June 1928, she recorded for Columbia; most of these were issued on their dime store labels Harmony, Diva, Clarion and Velvet Tone. A handful were also released on their regular price Columbia and OKeh. Although most were released under her own name, she was renamed Gay Ellis (for sentimental numbers) and Dot Dare or Patsy Young (for her Helen Kane impersonations). She recorded under a number of other pseudonyms which included Ethel Bingham, Marion Lee, Janet Shaw, and Lelia Sandford. Starting in August 1932, she began recording for the ARC with her recordings issued on their Melotone, Perfect, Conqueror, Oriole and Romeo. Her final session, February 3, 1934 was placed on ARC's Vocalion label.

Hanshaw made her one and only appearance on film[2] in the 1933 Paramount short Captain Henry's Radio Show, "a picturization" of the popular Thursday evening radio program Maxwell House Show Boat, in which she starred from 1932 to 1934.

Having grown tired of show business, in the late 1930s Hanshaw retired and settled into married life with her husband, Pathé Records executive Herman "Wally" Rose. Later in life, in a would-be comeback, she recorded two demo records, but they were never released. She died of cancer in 1985 at New York Hospital after a long illness; she was living in Manhattan at that time.[3]

Collections of Hanshaw's recording were released on Audio CD in 1999 by Sensation Records. Another revival of interest occurred in 2008 with the indie animated feature Sita Sings the Blues, which retold the Indian epic poem the Ramayana from Sita's perspective by setting scenes from it to performances by Hanshaw.[4] More recently, her 1929 song "Daddy Won't You Please Come Home" was featured in the game Bioshock 2.


For many years it was believed that Annette had been born in 1910 and began her recording career shortly before her 16th birthday. However, it has recently come to light that she was in fact[5] born nine years earlier, making her 24 at the time of her first commercial recording in September 1926. Her nephew, Frank W. Hanshaw III, has confirmed 1901 as the date on her birth certificate.[6] Annette Hanshaw


  1. ^ Annette Hanshaw at the Red Hot Jazz Archive
  2. ^ Film clip. Accessed January 30, 2007
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Music Industry Killing Internet Radio, Sita Sings the Blues". 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  5. ^ Annette's Birthdate. Accessed January 30, 2007
  6. ^ Annette Hanshaw Biography. Accessed January 30, 2007

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