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Dinah Washington

Dinah Washington

American singer and pianist

Dinah Washington (born Ruth Lee Jones; August 29, 1924 – December 14, 1963) was an American singer and pianist, who has been cited as "the most popular black female recording artist of the 1950s songs". Primarily a jazz vocalist, she performed and recorded in a wide variety of styles including blues, R&B, and traditional pop music, and gave herself the title of "Queen of the Blues". She was a 1986 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

Early life

Ruth Lee Jones was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Alice and Ollie Jones, and moved to Chicago as a child. She became deeply involved in gospel music and played piano for the choir in St. Luke's Baptist Church while still in elementary school. She sang gospel music in church and played piano, directing her church choir in her teens and was a member of the Sallie Martin Gospel Singers. When she joined the Sallie Martin group, she dropped out of Wendell Phillips High School. She sang lead with the first female gospel singers formed by Sallie Martin, who was co-founder of the Gospel Singers Convention. Her involvement with the gospel choir occurred after she won an amateur contest at Chicago's Regal Theater where she sang "I Can't Face the Music".


August 29, 1924
Dinah Washington was born in Tuscaloosa.


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