Today is the birthday of the world famous pioneer of soul music, Ella Fitzgerald. Google celebrated the late singer’s life and achievements with a special doodle on what would have been her 96th birthday. In her time, Fitzgerald became the most respected jazz singer, whose impeccable technical capabilities and emotive voice made her a household name. Ella’s unparalleled sense of swing and clear diction were a key part of her success.

Fitzgerald was born in Virginia in 1917 and, coincidentally, her big break came at the age of 17, when she first performed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. She later went on to record a variety of jazz pieces, which have now long been considered classics. One of her most famous recordings is her 1938 rendition of the popular children’s song “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”. Among these are also the prized recordings Fitzgerald made with fellow jazz icon Louis Armstrong. She also recorded with most of the great instrumentalists of her time, including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Chick Webb and Mel Torme.

At a time when segregation was still an issue in the states, Ella Fitzgerald stood for equality and unity through music and that, along with her many and varied contributions to jazz and performance in general, will forever remain her legacy. For a reminder of Ella's full, soulful voice, listen to the 1958 live recording of Summertime at Mrs. Kelly's below.