Alma Cogan was the highest-paid, British female entertainer of the 1950’s. Dubbed ‘the girl with the giggle in her voice’ after she broke into a giggle when recording a song,; her success owed as much to her magnetic personality as her beautiful voice. Cogan was born in London in 1932, though spent her formative years attending the St. John’s Convent School in Reading, which would also later have Marianne Faithful in attendance.
The bright lights of London soon drew her back, however, and she was performing at tea dances on weekends at the age of 14. Her big break came at 17 when she was spotted by a scout from HMV Records, from who her first single “To be worthy of You/Would You” was be released in 1952. She went on to release four albums and over 70 singles in her 14 year career. Musically, she was in-keeping with the manufactured popular music systems of the 50s’ in which exceptional talents would record covers of hits from the U.S. On several occasions, in fact, she released the same covers as competing female British artists, on the same day!.
Always glamorous, she became know for never wearing the same dress twice. Cogan was also known for her exclusive parties, inviting close friends, the likes of; Cary Grant, Sammy Davis Jr, Audrey Hepburn, Roger Moore and Michael Caine. Especially close to, The Beatles, The melody to Yesterday was first played on her piano, in her London flat.
She started experiencing ill health in 1965 and collapsed with stomach pains, after playing two clubs into a tour of the North of England. She soldiered on, but whilst touring in Sweden she collapsed again, and died three weeks later of ovarian cancer at the age of 34, on October 26th 1966. Her record company released a post-humous album ‘Alma’.
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