Dinah Washington

Few jazz singers have such durable appeal as Dinah Washington, affectionately remembered for her emotive performances of classic songs like Unforgettable, Teach Me Tonight, What A Difference A Day Makes and Mad About The Boy. Originally from Alabama, Washington became involved in gospel music, growing up in Chicago where she became a member of the Sallie Martin Gospel Singers and at 15 won a talent contest that encouraged her to perform in local clubs. She got a contract as resident singer at the Garrick in Chicago, where she met Billie Holiday, and in 1953 became singer with Lionel Hampton's band - it was reputedly Hampton who suggested her name change from Ruth Jones to Dinah Washington. She toured with Hampton for two years, making her first recording with him on the track Evil Gal Blues in 1944 and subsequently signed to Mercury Records as a solo act, getting a hit with a cover of Fats Waller's Ain't Misbehaving. It was the first in a long trail of hits over the next decade, crossing over into the pop charts with I Wanna Be Loved (1950), Cold Cold Heart (1951), What A Difference A Day Makes (1959), September In The Rain (1961) and two duets with Brook Benton on Baby (You've Got What It Takes) and A Rockin' Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall In Love). A colourful character, Washington performed with many jazz greats and was married eight times - but died from an accidental overdose of alcohol and diet pills in 1963. She was just 39.

Related Artists

Stations Featuring Dinah Washington

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