I’ve had “Just One of Those Things” running through my head all day.

I’m a huge Cole Porter fan. I have multiple songbooks of his on CD, including Ella Fitzgerald’s, which is – as far as I’m concerned – the ultimate album of Cole Porter songs.

The standards are standards for a reason, and find a new audience every generation for a reason: They are beautiful and timeless. The lyrics don’t age and the melodies are smooth and gorgeous. And when Ella sings? The melodies are lush.

I don’t remember when I first discovered I loved Ella Fitzgerald. But my love affair (which is decidedly not too hot not to cool down) with the queen of jazz kicked into high gear at the end of my senior year of college, when a group of us went to see her perform at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois.

We had a couple of blankets and a picnic dinner, but at one point, I made my way to the stage to see her sing. She was a few years before the end of her amazing life, and not at her peak physical form. She was sitting while singing, but her voice – her voice was like an angel.

I remember seeing her sing “A Tisket, A Tasket” in the Abbott and Costello movie, “Ride ‘Em Cowboy” when I was a kid who watched Abbott and Costello movies every Sunday on public television. She was young and lovely, but her voice soared above everything. The song was silly, but her voice was everything.

I’ve considered that performance at Ravinia one of my all-time favorite concerts I’ve attended, simply because it was Ella. Back in the days of Columbia House, when you got 13 CDs for $1 and then bought lots of stuff in subsequent months, I spent a lot of money on Ella CDs. At the holiday time, when boxed sets were on sale, I would buy at least one boxed set of Ella singing someone’s songs.

And it all started with her singing on a bus with Abbott & Costello.

Photo by Meg Lauber via Flickr Creative Commons.

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