One of the most popular singers of the late-'20s/early-'30s period, Ruth Etting
was not really a jazz singer (unlike her contemporary, Annette Hanshaw
) but a superior middle-of-the-road pop singer who was often accompanied by top jazz musicians. She recorded over 200 songs between 1926-1937, appeared on-stage, was in 35 film shorts and three full-length movies, and was a fixture on radio before her bad marriage cut short her career. She made a minor comeback in the late '40s and was still singing on an occasional basis in the mid-'50s when a semi-fictional Hollywood movie on her life (Love Me or Leave Me) was released. A superb torch singer with a cry in her voice even when she smiled, Etting
recorded the definitive versions of "Ten Cents a Dance" and "Love Me or Leave Me."