Well it is the last day of Black History Month, but that doesn’t mean the Black History research has to stop.
Dinah Washington was the “Queen of the Blues”. She was born Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as Ruth Lee Jones. Her family was musically talented, but they were poor.
In 1928, Washington and her family moved to Chicago. She began to play piano, and sing in church. As she grew older, she became attracted to Chicago’s nightlife music. She would perform secretly at different local clubs.
Ruth toured with a quartet called Colored Ladies Quartet in 1940. She struggled financially for three years, and decided to move back to Chicago.
Manager of the Garrick Lounge, Joe Sheridan, convinced Washington to change her name from Ruth Jones to Dinah Washington, because it sounded better for promotional business.
Washington and Sheridan began to perform together. She performed with Lionel Hampton’s orchestra, and with Mercury Records, the label company where she recorded for 16 years.
She released 45 Billboard hits. Some of her songs included: “What a Difference a Day Makes”, “This Bitter Earth”, and “You Got What it Takes”.
Washington used her fame to help launch the careers of others, and make contributions to the civil rights movement.
Washington died in 1963 due to an accidental overdose of pills.