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Annie Ross (1930–2020), jazz singer known for “Twisted”

by Linnea Crowther

Annie Ross was a jazz singer with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, best known for her 1952 song “Twisted.”

A lifetime of performing

Ross was born in England to a family of vaudeville performers who immigrated to the U.S. when she was four. She quickly won a movie contract and appeared as a child actress in movies including “Presenting Lily Mars” with Judy Garland (1922 – 1969). Ross also wrote and performed music as a child, and she was not long out of her teens when she recorded “Twisted,” in which she added her own lyrics to the Wardell Gray tune of the same name in a style that would become known as vocalese. Her In 1957, Ross joined singers Dave Lambert (1917 – 1966) and Jon Hendricks (1921 – 2017) to form Lambert, Hendricks & Ross; they won a Grammy Award for Best Vocal Group in 1962 for their album “High Flying,” shortly before Ross left the group. In later years, Ross returned to acting, appearing on the London stage and in films including “Superman III” (1983), “Throw Momma from the Train” (1987), “Pump Up the Volume” (1990), and “Short Cuts” (1993). She also became a cabaret performer.

Ross on singing with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross

“I’ll be singing a line and Jon will be singing another line, but with different lyrics. It makes for intense concentration.” —from a 1999 interview with Downbeat

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What people said about her

Full obituary: The New York Times

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