Bessie Smith

By Olivia Snapp

Bessie Smith Growing up

Bessie Smith was born on April 15, 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Bessie Started out as just a street musician but in 1912 she joined a traveling show and was a singer and dancer, Bessie then joined T.O.B.A. vaudeville circuit. By the early 1920's Bessie Smith was one of the most popular Blues singers in vaudeville. In 1923 She signed a recording contract with Columbia Records. Accompanied by Clarence Williams, they recorded "Gulf Coast Blues" and "Down Hearted Blues." The record sold more than 750,000 copies that same year. Bessie Smith was one of the biggest African-American stars of the 1920's and was popular with both Whites and African Americans.

Gulf Coast Blues By Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith (Gulf Coast Blues, 1923) Jazz Legend

Bessie Smiths Death

In September of 1937, Bessie Smith was on her way to a performance at about three in the morning with her Driver Richard Morgan. They barreled down a dark country road in their Packard. A truck was parked on the shoulder with its light out and Richard crashed into the car. Bessie's arm was severely cut. They arrived at the nearest hospital at 11:30 am. She was refused to be helped because she was an African- American. Bessie Smith ended up dying just because she was Black and wouldn't be accepted into the white hospital even though she was famous.

Comparison between Bessie Smith and Dinah Washington

Bessie Smith and Dinah Washington are a lot a like through their music and there life styles. When I listened to pieces of both of there music I could here some similarities between each of them. First of all, they are both African-American so they have that distinct style and sound. They also both like to sing slow paced music and they generally have the same style of music.
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