Alberta Hunter Day

April 1, 1895 – October 17, 1984

A tribute to a great singer

Blues singer and songwriter Alberta Hunter was born April 1, 1895 in Memphis, Tennessee.

She left home in her early teens making her way to Chicago and was already a veteran singer who had toured Europe by the time she cut her first record in 1921.

Hunter gave up singing at 60 to pursue a career in nursing, only to return to the stage more than 20 years later in her eighties.

Her persistence brought her all the way from performing in the lowest establishments to headlining in some of the city’s most prestigious venues including the Dreamland Ballroom where she began in 1912.

In 1917 she first toured Europe and continued to appear in numerous musical revues in New York and London throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

Alberta made her first recordings for the Black Saint label in 1921 and would make many more.

A songwriter as well she wrote and recorded “Downhearted Blues” in 1922.

Bored sitting idle Alberta Hunter decided to resume her former life as a cabaret singer touring and holding a regular engagement in Greenwich Village for the next several years until her death.

Alberta Hunter performs the Jimmy Cox classic “Nobody Knows You” in 1981 at age 86.


Alberta Hunter, vocals
Gerald Cook, piano
Jimmy Lewis, bass