Aileen Stanley was born Maude Elsie Aileen Muggeridge on March 21, 1893 in Chicago, Illinois, Aileen was the youngest of four children of English parents Robert S. and Maria (née Capewell) Muggeridge who had immigrated from England in 1887. Aileen's sister Elsie Sherrif Muggeridge, died of typhoid in August 1892, passing it on to their father who died of the disease seven months before Aileen's birth. Her widowed mother resided in Chicago along with her surviving siblings, brothers Stanley and Robert Jr.
Performances and recordings
From childhood, she sang and danced in vaudeville with her older brother Stanley as Stanley and Aileen, with the encouragement of their widowed mother. After her brother left the act, Aileen started performing solo, forming her stage name by reversing the name of the old family billing.
Stanley performed in vaudeville and cabarets. In 1920 she was a hit in New York City in the review show Silks And Satins and made the first of her numerous recordings the same year. The majority of her records in the '20s were for the Victor Talking Machine Company, but she also recorded with other labels with recording studios in the New York City area, including Edison, Pathe, Okeh, Brunswick, Vocalion, Gennett and others. On some of her early recordings she was accompanied by Rosario Borden's Orchestra. Many of her records sold well at the time. According to Joel Whitman, her most successful early recordings included "My Mammy" (1921) and "Sweet Indiana Home" (1922).
Between 1922 and 1924, and again in the late '20s, Victor Records produced a popular series of records pairing Stanley with singer Billy Murray. One of Stanley's 1925 Victor recordings, "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street", in which she shared the vocal with newcomer Gene Austin, helped launch Austin's illustrious career. She recorded J. Russel Robinson and Con Conrad's 1920 jazz standard "Singin' the Blues", released as Victor 18703. She recorded the Paul Whiteman and Fred Rose composition "Flamin' Mamie" on October 5, 1925 and released it as Victor 19828-A accompanied on ukulele by Billy "Uke" Carpenter who provided "jazz effects".
Stanley also recorded for Black Swan Records, a label purportedly devoted only to African-American artists, under the pseudonyms "Mamie Jones" and "Georgia Gorham". Her handling of blues material was similar to that of some of the northern black vaudeville singers of the time. Her stage appearances billed her as "The Phonograph Girl" and "The Girl With The Personality." In later life she was overheard to say that the song "I'll Get By" was written for her.
Stanley was said to have invested heavily in the stock market and was one of the many who lost most of their life's savings in the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Around 1931 Stanley moved to London, where she made more records for HMV from 1934 through 1937, and once confided "strictly entre nous" that she unwittingly ended her own romance when she introduced Wallis Simpson to Edward, Prince of Wales, at the home of Thelma, Lady Furness. In her later years she worked as a singing teacher and vocal coach.
- Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954: The History of American Popular Music. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. pp. 407–408. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
- Shilkret, Nathaniel, ed. Niel Shell and Barbara Shilkret, Nathaniel Shilkret: Sixty Years in the Music Business, Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Maryland, 2005, pp. 73--74. ISBN 0-8108-5128-8
- Lornell, Kip; Laird, Tracey E.W. (2008). Shreveport sounds in black and white. University Press of Mississippi. p. 242. ISBN 1-934110-42-6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aileen Stanley.|
- .ram audio clips of two of her records on vintage-recordings.com
- Duets of Aileen Stanley and Billy Murray on Internet Archive's site archive.org
- Grayce S. Burian collection of Aileen Stanley materials, 1898-1983, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
- Grave details at FindaGrave.com