Dinah Washington was born on December 29, 1924 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She was a successful jazz singer and pianist in the 1950s and 1960s. Her unique vocal style and improvisational skills earned her critical acclaim and made her one of the most popular performers of her era. Washington’s life was tragically cut short by a heart attack in 1963, but her legacy lives on through her music. In this article, we take a closer look at the life and career of Dinah Washington.
Who is Dinah Washington?
Dinah Washington was born as Ruth Jones on September 29, 1924 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She was the seventh of eight children and was raised by her mother and grandmother. Her father left when she was just one year old. Washington began singing in church at the age of three, but her mother didn’t like her singing because she thought it would distract her from her schoolwork. Washington’s mother died when she was twelve, and after that she moved to St Louis with her sister to pursue a singing career.
Early childhood in Arkansas
Dinah Washington’s family moved to Arkansas when she was a child. It was here that she began her musical education, taking piano and voice lessons. She also began listening to jazz and blues on the radio. At the age of sixteen, Washington left Arkansas to pursue a singing career in Chicago.
Washington’s first recordings
On October 20, 1943, Washington made her first recordings for the Blue Note label. These recordings were not commercially successful, but they helped launch her career. Washington continued to record for Blue Note throughout the 1940s.
Dinah Washington’s rise to fame
In the early 1950s, Washington began to gain popularity as a jazz singer. She made her first appearance at the legendary Newport Jazz Festival in 1954. The following year, she signed with Mercury Records and released her first album, Dinah Jams. Washington’s success continued to grow throughout the 1950s and 1960s. She won a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording in 1959.
Washington’s final years
On December 14, 1963, Dinah Washington died of a heart attack in Detroit, Michigan. She was only 39 years old. Washington left behind a legacy of great music that continues to influence artists today. Her unique vocal style and improvisational skills made her one of the most popular jazz singers of her time.
Despite her untimely death, Washington’s influence on music is still felt today. She was an incredibly talented singer and pianist who helped shape the sound of jazz and popular music. Her unique vocal style inspired many other artists, including Aretha Franklin. Washington was also a successful businesswoman who owned her own record label. She was a true pioneer of the music industry, and her legacy lives on.
Dinah Washington’s awards
Dinah Washington won numerous awards during her career, including the Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording for her album What a Diff’rence a Day Makes (1959). She was also inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame in 1984. The U.S. Postal Service even honored Washington with the “Honor” award.
Dinah Washington’s influence on music
Washington’s unique vocal style and improvisational skills quickly won her critical acclaim. She released her first album, Dinah Jams, in 1954. The album was a huge success, making Washington one of the most popular artists of her time. Washington continued to release hit albums and singles throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Some of her most popular songs include “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes” and “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)”. Washington won several awards during her career, including the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1959.
What are your favorite Dinah Washington songs?
Some of my favorite Dinah Washington songs include “What a Difference a Day Makes” and “Baby (You’ve Got What “It Takes)”. I also really like her cover of “Makin’ Whoopee”. What are your favorite Dinah Washington songs? Let us know in the comments below!
Other Jazz singers
Harry Connick Jr.
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Ricki Lee Jones
Ella Mae Morse
Oscar Brown Jr.
Janis Siegel (Manhattan Transfer)
Big Joe Turner