Bessie Smith

"The Greatest Blues Singer in the World Never Stop Singing"

Biography and Focal Points in her life

She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on April 15, 1894. By 1906 her mom, dad, and two of her brothers had died. The rest of the remaining Smiths moved in with their aunt. She was first introduced to jazz through Ma Rainey. Being a dancer in most of her shows. In the same year she got married she was found by Columbia Records. Soon she was one of the highest black paid performers in the business. Among many of her songs was downhearted blues, selling almost 800,000 copies. But by 1929 she had gotten divorced, left Columbia Records, although still going on tours. Soon signed by producer John Hammond, hinting to the start of the Swing Era. Although her career cut short on September 26, 1937. She was on her way to Memphis Tennessee when she was thrown out of the car in a accident. She died of her wounds in Clarkdale, Mississippi Hospital.

Affect on American Culture

Bessie Smith is an icon to jazz, R&B, pop, and many other types of artists. She has formed the way that many people sing, inspiring artists like Mahalia Jackson and Janis Joplin. When Janis Joplin found out that there was no grave on Smith's grave she bought a headstone and shared the cost with Janita Green; a woman who, even though wasn't in music, said that Bessie Smith had inspired her career by telling her she couldn't sing. This story shows that Bessie Smith and her music have inspired many people, singers or lawyers, whoever they are; if they were in Bessie's time period or after, she was a beacon of light that could be seen through the dark. This was not just in America, she was inspiring a "Jazz Revolution" in Europe. She was trying to enlighten both audiences. These are some impacts on the world.

Most Famous Song

Bessie Smith (Down Hearted Blues, 1923) Jazz Legend

Downhearted Blues

This song may be one of Bessie Smith's most known song in some people's opinion. Originally composed by Alberta Hunter and Lovie Austin. Alberta recorded it as a song in 1922. While in 1923 came around, Bessie Smith recorded it and the song went on to sell 2 million copies. This is significant because this is the song that really got her career going.

Related Artist: Norah Jones

Song Relation

Now you may be wondering, why the heck did you choose Norah Smith? I chose her for this because right now jazz may not be the most famous type of music, but it is a big thing to many people. Norah Jones is a modern day jazz artist. Even though her career may be dying down right now because she has gotten older, she is still a modern day jazz artist with a voice like Bessie's.These are some of my reasons for choosing her.
Norah Jones Come Away With Me Lyrics