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Uploaded on May 12, 2010
Joni James (Giovanna 'Joan' Carmella Babo) was born into an Italian family in Chicago on Sept. 22, 1930. As an adolescent, she studied drama and ballet, and on graduating from high school, went with a local dance group on a tour of Canada. She then took a job as a chorus girl in the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago. After doing a fill-in in Indiana, she decided to pursue a singing career. Some executives at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) spotted her in a television commercial, and she was signed by MGM in 1952. Her first hit, "Why Don't You Believe Me?" sold over two million copies. She had a number of hits following that one, including "Your Cheatin' Heart" (a cover of Hank Williams' hit) and "Have You Heard?"