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Dinah Washington

Singer And Pianist
Remembered Best As:
American Singer And Pianist, Who Has Been Cited As "The Most Popular Black Female Recording Artist Of The 50S


Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the former Ruth Lee Jones moved with her family to Chicago as a young girl She considered the Windy City her true home And it was there in early 1940s that a local nightclub owner provided her first gig - and a new name that she would make famous By 1959 she had earned a Grammy for her version of the song "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes" In his 2001 biography Q, music legend Quincy Jones vividly describes Washington's style, saying she "could take the melody in her hand, hold it like an egg, crack it open, fry it, let it sizzle, reconstruct it, put the egg back in the box and back in the refrigerator and you would've still understood every single syllable" But the singer's musical gifts were offset by a wild and extravagant personal life Married seven times, Washington battled weight problems and raced through her profits buying shoes, furs and cars in an effort to lift her spirits Washington also tried numerous prescription medications, primarily for dieting and insomnia A mix of the pills she was taking in 1963 caused her death, which was ruled an accident Her gift lives on through her rich musical legacy

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