Dinah Washington

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About Dinah Washington

Whether she was swinging hard on her most unbridled efforts or using the softest of touches on her signature 1959 hit, “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes,” Dinah Washington was like no other performer of the ’50s and early ‘60s. Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1924, Washington became one of the era’s most popular vocalists, as well as one of the few Black singers to cross over from the R&B world. She became a fixture on the pop charts thanks to her ability to fully inhabit a wide range of songs that included jazz standards, romantic ballads, risqué blues numbers, and even originals by Hank Williams. Though her crisp delivery and command of so many musical styles meant she could make any song her own, she burned brightest on torch songs like “Teach Me Tonight” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” In the decades since Washington’s death in 1963 at the age of 39, her brilliance and versatility have seemed even more significant, especially as the music of later greats like Nancy Wilson and Amy Winehouse demonstrated the extent of her impact.

Tuscaloosa, AL, United States
August 29, 1924
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