Friday, August 15, 2008

Singerobit: Lita Roza

Lita Roza - the first Liverpudlian, and first female singer, to have a number one single - has died.

Roza's number one was a novelty single - How Much Is That Doggy In The Window? - and, like many who find fame with a novelty hit, it dogged her (no pun intended) for the rest of her days:

"I sang it once - just one take - and vowed I would never sing it again. It just wasn't my style."

Rosa was much more than that single. She won Top British Female Singer in the NME readers' polls every year between 1951 and 1955, and sang with many of the great dance bands, including Harry Roy's and Ted Heath's.

She was a GI Bride, quitting Liverpool at the end of World War Two for Miami; the marriage didn't last and it was on returning to Liverpool that she took up professional singing seriously - out of need as much as artistic desire.

Lita worked round the planet - TV work in New Zealand; Singapore to entertain the troops; South Africa supporting Matt Monro. She even briefly had her own series, Lita Roza sings, on ITV in the mid 1950s. In 1981, a comeback tour with the Ted Heath band was to continue for nineteen years. A 2002 performance for Radio Merseyside's birthday was enough, Lita decided. At the age of 78, she had no desire to continue treading the boards, and withdrew from showbiz.

Roza died on the 14th August.


3 comments:

Robin Carmody said...

Lita Roza, not Lita Ford :).

She wasn't the first female artist to have a number one - Jo Stafford and Kay Starr had got there already - but she was the first British soloist of either sex, and the second British act at number one after the Stargazers. She was the eighth number one overall.

Anonymous said...

Bot long ago Lita was interviwed on the Radio 4 "PM" programme. On being told that "How Much Is That Doggie" was the favourite song of Margaret Thatcher, Lita said in a word weary voice "Well, I suppose she had to like SOMETHING".

She had a great voice

Anonymous said...

So sad to hear of lita"s passing she was a fantastic singer and had a great personality, I had the pleasure of meeting her at St Marys Mount the Bexley home of Dorothy Squires and she looked stunning, Rest in Peace lovely lad y.

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