Florence Foster Jenkins: the Worst Singer at Carnegie Hall

florence foster jenkings jealous

While cooking dinner, I was listening to the latest episode of NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” (also free on iTunes) when they played a soundbyte from the worst singer to ever grace the stage at Carnegie Hall: Florence Foster Jenkins. I started laughing and tearing up — and the onion I was slicing was not to blame.

Florence was a wealthy Park Avenue eccentric who was held back by her parents from becoming a Soprano singer.  As her parents passed away, it allowed her the freedom to persue her dreams with bravado.   Also included with that bravado was a complete lack of rhythm, pitch, tone, and overall singing ability.

By the time she made it to Carnegie Hall in 1944, she was filling the seats with people who came to cry laughing.  The great thing is, she was impervious to this!  She just thought that those who laughed and criticized were just haters.

Moral of the story: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Big dreams, thick skin, and a healthy dose of delusional thinking.  And on with the show [clap clap clap…curtain raises…]

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5 responses

  1. She would totally be in line to audition for American Idol if she were alive today!

  2. In researching her I saw someone call her the William Hung of yesteryear. On the NPR show someone said if she had autotune she’d be a huge star.

    btw, the real talent was her accompanying pianist, who had to constantly keep up and even out her misses.

  3. […] The Glory of the Human Voice (????) Seriously, listen to this woman “sing.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoGElIOB9tc&feature=related. Florence Foster Jenkins: The Worst Singer At Carnegie Hall […]

  4. […] would ensure that at some point, no soprano would be willing to sing for free forever. That is, unless she was Florence Foster Jenkins. To quote Professor and Economist Bryan Caplan, from his econ syllabus, A. Do people always choose […]

  5. stop it already….I understand Ivan’s problem!

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