A popular singer when she was still a young teenager, Alice Babs had a long and varied career. She made her recording debut in 1939 at the age of 15 and, although her yodeling made her initially popular and the novelty "Swing It, Mr. Teacher" was her first hit, Babs even at the start had a highly appealing voice and a lightly swinging style.
She mostly recorded in jazz and swing-oriented settings throughout the years of World War II. Babs remained active throughout the 1950s and '60s in Europe, singing everything from jazz (recording with Duke Ellington
in 1963 and performing the classic "Heaven" at his second spiritual concert) and pop to a bit of classical music. By the late '70s, Alice Babs had become less active, but into the mid-'90s she occasionally performed on special occasions. Her important first set with Duke Ellington
, Swing It!, does a fine job of summing up her first 15 years on records. Babs suffered from Alzheimer's in her final years, and she died on February 11, 2014 of complications from the disease. She was 90 years old. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi