29¢ Dinah Washington
Legends of American Music
Issue Date: June 16, 1993
City: Cleveland, OH or Santa Monica, CA
Printed By: Multicolor Corp. for American Bank Note Co.
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 11 horizontally
Known as the “Queen of Blues”, Dinah Washington was one of the best-known and most popular female rhythm & blues singers during the 1950’s. And even after her death in 1963, she continued to dominate the top-10 charts.
Born Ruth Jones, she began her music career singing in the church choir. However, like many teens of that era, she also enjoyed the music of the big bands, and often sang for her friends and high school audiences. It was these performances that led her to join Lionel Hampton’s band in 1943. After touring with his band for a few years, she struck out on her own, and within a few months had become one of the most popular rhythm & blues singers of the day.
In 1950, she began the new decade with several top-10 hits, including “What a Diff’rence a Day Made”, “This Bitter Earth”, and “Unforgettable”, and continued with new hits until 1959. The following year she teamed up with Brook Benton to form one of the best duos of the era. Their single “Baby (You Got What It Takes)” was a smash hit in both the U.S. and Europe, making Washington an international star as well. In 1963, while resting at home between tours, she died suddenly of a heart seizure, abruptly ending her career.