Annie Ross, the jazz singer who acted as one-third of the popular vocal group Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, died in her Manhattan home on Tuesday (July 21), according to The New York Times. She was 89 years old. A cause of death has not been announced.
Ross is best known for “Twisted”—a song sung from the perspective of a neurotic patient visiting their analyst. Musically, the song was based on an improvisational blues number recorded in 1949 by saxophonist Wardell Gray. Ross recorded and performed “Twisted” many times throughout her career, but first laid down the song under her own name in 1952. “Twisted” was unique not only for its darkly humerous subject matter, but also because it was Ross who penned its lyrics (most of the lyrics in Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross were written by Jon Hendricks). The song would eventually be covered by Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler, and others.
After quitting Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross in 1962, Ross navigated a series of hardships, including an occasional dependency on heroin, bankruptcy, and divorce. She eventually found her way back to the performing arts, however. In the mid-1980s, Ross acted in a number of stage productions in London, including Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera and The Pirates of Penzance. She also starred in a number of British TV shows, and in Robert Altman’s 1993 film Short Cuts (as jazz singer Tess Trainer).
Ross released a number of solo albums in the past few decades, as well as collaborative recordings with jazz giants like Hoagy Carmichael, Count Basie, and more. Her last studio album was 2014’s To Lady With Love, which she recorded with Bucky and John Pizzarelli.
Ross’ late career was spent as a cabaret artist. In 2010, she was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts and named a Jazz Master.
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork