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Dinah Washington, Queen of the Blues

Updated on April 9, 2011

Dinah Washington

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 Unforgettable

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.

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    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      You are so right! Thanks! It's a famous picture of Billie Holliday. I'll correct the error.

    • profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago

      that first picture is Billie Holiday, not Dinah Washington.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 11 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      I heard Dinah live at the Flame Show Bar in Detroit.

    • profile image

      Iðunn 11 years ago


    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 11 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks Jimmy. It worked on YouTube. Try this one. Also one of my favorites.

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 11 years ago from Scotland

      sorry ralph that video doesn't work