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Dinah Washington, Queen of the Blues
Dinah Washington, "Queen of the Blues"
Dinah Washington was one of the greatest blues singers of all time.
In 1959 she received a Grammy for Best R & B performance for What a Difference a Day Makes.
Three of Dina's recordings received posthumous Grammy awards:
1954 Teach Me Tonight
1959 What a Difference a Day Makes
And the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame listed Dinah's 1948 R&B recording Am I Asking Too Much? as one of the 500 recordings that influenced Rock and Roll.
Dinah was born Ruth Jones in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1924 and moved with her family to Chicago as a child. As so many other great vocalists, she sang gospel music in church,. She became church choir director at age 16 and was a member of the Sallie Martin Gospel Singers. After winning a talent contest at age 15 she began performing in clubs. She joined Lionel Hampton in 1943 as his vocalist and changed her name to Dinah Washington. She went on from there to become the greatest blues singer of the 1950s.
I heard Dinah Washington sing at the Flame Show Bar in Detroit in the early 1960s when she was dating and then married to star Lions running back, Dick "Night Train" Layne, her eighth husband. She died of a drug overdose at age 39 in 1963. Her performance was unforgettable.
- Dinah Washington
Early Dec 14, 1963, Dinah's 8th husband, NFL player Dick "Night Train" Lane awoke to find Dinah slumped over and not responsive. A doctor pronounced her dead at the scene. An autopsy showed a lethal combination of secobarbital and amobarbital.