Dinah Washington Day
August 29, 1924 – December 14, 1963
Send Me to the Electric Chair
Singer Ruth Lee Jones was born on August 29, 1924 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Jones, who later went by Dinah Washington, moved to Chicago as a child. She joined a number of choirs and gospel groups, both as a vocalist and pianist.
She rose to prominence as the female vocalist for Lionel Hampton’s big band.
From 1948 to 1955, Washington had 27 R&B top ten hits. In 1959, “What a Diff’rence a Day Made” reached number 4 on the pop charts, making Washington one of the most successful crossover artists of her day.
While best known for pop recordings, Washington played with many important jazz artists, like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Cannonball Adderley.
After leaving the Hampton band in 1946 and launching her solo recording career Dinah would enjoy a string of continuous hits for 1948 to 1955 beginning with a rendition of Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’”.
Dinah Washington has been called the 1950s’ most popular black female singer and in 1993 was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall-of-Fame.
Sadly, Dinah passed away on December 14, 1963 at the young age of thirty-nine due to an overdose of prescription sleep aids.