1950s EASY-POP Songs and Singers...on the verge of Rock 'n Roll
Dinah Washington (born August 29, 1924)
Famous POP hit during the 50s: What a Diff’rence a Day Makes 1959
Dinah Washington also had hit duets with Brook Benton on Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes) and A Rockin’ Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall in Love) in 1960.
Recording career with hits on the charts: 1959-1963 Record Label: Mercury
Controversial rhythm & blues vocalist and pianist Dinah Washington was born Ruth Lee Jones in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and raised in Chicago. In the early forties she was singing and playing piano in Salle Martin’s gospel choir as Ruth Jones, while performing in the evenings as Dinah Washington in clubs with Lionel Hampton. Her gritty, penetrating voice, excellent timing, crystal-clear enunciation, and bluesy phrasing created her own distinctive style. What a Diff’rence a Day Makes won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance and it was her biggest hit. Her album, with its reliance on strings, was criticized by critics as being too commercial but it was a huge success and she continued to favor pop songs rather than blues and jazz. In 1960, she had top-ten hit duets with Brook Benton: Baby and A Rockin’ Good Way. The seven-time-married Dinah Washington died of an accidental overdose of diet pills and alcohol in 1963 before she was forty.