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Susannah McCorkle (January 1, 1946[1] – May 19, 2001) was an American jazz singer.

Susannah McCorkle
Born(1946-01-01)January 1, 1946[1]
Berkeley, California, U.S.
DiedMay 19, 2001(2001-05-19) (aged 55)
New York City
GenresJazz, vocal jazz
Years active1970s–2001
LabelsInner City, Pausa Concord



McCorkle was born in Berkeley, California, on January 1, 1946.[1] She moved often since her father was an anthropologist who worked at colleges throughout the U.S. During the 1960s, she studied Italian literature at the University of California at Berkeley, then dropped out and moved to Paris.[citation needed]

She was inspired to become a singer when she heard Billie Holiday sing "I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues". She began her career in the early 1970s by singing at pubs in London with bandleader John Chilton.[2] She also worked in London with Keith Ingham and Dick Sudhalter and recorded her first two albums, one a tribute to Harry Warren, the other to Johnny Mercer.[3]

After moving back to the U.S. in the 1970s, she sang at the Cookery in Greenwich Village[2] and the Riverboat in Manhattan.[3] Later in her career she sang often at the Algonquin Hotel.[4]

Stereo Review magazine named How Do You Keep the Music Playing (1986) album of the year, while critic Leonard Feather named it vocal album of the year.[4]

No More Blues (1988), her first album for Concord Records, was recorded with guitarists Emily Remler and Bucky Pizzarelli and pianist Dave Frishberg.[5] Her writing was published in Cosmopolitan, Newsday, New York, and the O. Henry Award Prize Stories.[4]


A breast cancer survivor, McCorkle suffered for many years from depression and committed suicide at age 55 by leaping off the balcony of her apartment at 41 West 86th Street in Manhattan. She was alone in her home at the time. The police immediately entered her home after identifying her body and found no foul play. Suicide was ruled the manner of death.[6]

Haunted Heart, a biography of Susannah McCorkle written by Linda Dahl, was published in September 2006 by University of Michigan Press.


  • 1980 Over the Rainbow: The Songs of E. Y. Yip Harburg (Inner City)
  • 1981 The Songs of Johnny Mercer (Inner City)
  • 1981 The People That You Never Get to Love (Inner City)
  • 1981 The Music of Harry Warren (Inner City)
  • 1984 Thanks for the Memory: The Songs of Leo Robin (Pausa)
  • 1985 How Do You Keep the Music Playing? (Pausa)
  • 1986 Dream (Pausa)
  • 1987 As Time Goes By (CBS/Sony)
  • 1988 No More Blues (Concord Jazz)
  • 1990 Sabia (Concord Jazz)
  • 1992 I'll Take Romance (Concord Jazz)
  • 1993 From Bessie to Brazil (Concord Jazz)
  • 1994 From Broadway to Bebop (Concord Jazz)
  • 1995 Easy to Love: The Songs of Cole Porter (Concord Jazz)
  • 1997 Let's Face the Music: The Songs of Irving Berlin (Concord Jazz)
  • 1998 Someone to Watch Over Me: The Songs of George Gershwin (Concord Jazz)
  • 1999 From Broken Hearts to Blue Skies (Concord Jazz)
  • 2000 Hearts and Minds (Concord Jazz)
  • 2002 Ballad Essentials (Concord Jazz)
  • 2015 Adeus: The Berlin Concert (Sonorama)[7]


  1. ^ a b c California Birth Index showing January 1 as Susannah McCorkle's date of birth,; accessed January 27, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Holden, Stephen (May 21, 2001). "Susannah McCorkle, 55, Pop-Jazz Singer". The New York Times. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Susannah McCorkle". AllMusic. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Prial, Dustan (January 6, 2006). "Singer Susannah McCorkle Dead at 55". ABC News. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  5. ^ Yanow, Scott. "No More Blues". AllMusic. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  6. ^ Blair, Gwenda (May 27, 2002). "Jazz Bird". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  7. ^ "Susannah McCorkle : Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved February 2, 2017.

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