Born September 22, 1930
After studying drama and ballet throughout her adolescence, Joni James joined a local dance troupe on a tour of Canada upon graduating high school, later working as a chorus girl at the Windy City's Edgewater Beach Hotel. A fill-in gig at an Indiana roadhouse convinced James to pursue a career as a singer, and while appearing in a TV commercial she was spotted by executives at MGM, signing to the label in 1952. Her single "Why Don't You Believe Me" sold over a million copies, topping the U.S. charts for six weeks and falling just shy of the Top Ten in Britain.
An overnight sensation, James enjoyed an incredible run of hits over the next year, among them the double-sided "Have You Heard"/"Wishing Ring," "Purple Shades," Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Is It Any Wonder," "Almost Always," "My Love, My Love," "You're Fooling Someone," "Nina-Non (A Christmas Lullaby)," and "You're My Everything."
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