St. Louis Blues

Bessie Smith

April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937

Bessie Smith sings the title song composed by W. C. Handy in her 1929 film “St. Louis Blues.”

Bessie Smith was the first African American woman to produce a record of the now famous W. C. Handy composition “St. Louis Blues”, which also featured Louis Armstrong. She became the most popular female blues vocalist of the 1920s and 1930s and is considered among the greatest singers of her era. Bessie has had a major influence on all subsequent blues and jazz vocalists.

W. C. Handy, one of the all time most influential songwriters in American history, holds the esteemed title “Father of the Blues.” The Memphis band leader was the first to gain national attention for his compositions of the regional genre. He is therefore credited with establishing the blue’s contemporary form.

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