Hello, Dinah Washington was born Ruth Lee Jones on August 29, 1924 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She is an all-time great jazz/blues vocalist. She moved to Chicago in 1927. She was with the Sallie Martin Gospel Singers from 1940-1941. She worked at clubs in Chicago from 1941-1943. She went solo in 1946. She charted 30 Top 10 R&B hits between 1944 and 1955. Dinah charted 21 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1959 and 1963.
On May 25, 1959 she charted one of her biggest hit records of the rock era, WHAT A DIFF’RENCE A DAY MAKES on Mercury Records. The single charted at #8 on the Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 20 weeks. The single won a Grammy for R&B Record Of The Year. The single crossed over to the R&B chart where it became the #4 song on that chart.
In October of 1959 Dinah was back with a follow-up hit. Her classic recording of UNFORGETTABLE became a huge pop hit, charting at #17 on the Hot 100. Her single remained on the chart for 13 weeks. She would also cross over with UNFORGETTABLE and send her hit to #15 on the Billboard R&B chart.
Her next two hits would be duets with Brook Benton. The first hit came in January of 1960, BABY (You’ve Got What It Takes) a good rockin’ tune, peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 and was a huge R&B hit, charting at #1 for 10 weeks. Brook and Dinah weren’t done, in May of 1960 another huge duet A ROCKIN’ GOOD WAY (To Mess Around And Fall In Love) climbed up the Hot 100, to #7. The single did even better on the R&B chart, where it went to the #1 spot and held the top spot for 4 weeks.
Dinah would continue to have hit records through 1963, but none would reach the Top 10 on the pop chart, but she would have another #1 R&B hit with THIS BITTER EARTH. It charted in June of 1960, peaking at #24 on the Hot 100 and #1 R&B. Dinah’s last Top 10 R&B hit came in November of 1961, with her recording of SEPTEMBER IN THE RAIN. The single charted #5 R&B and #23 on the Hot 100. The single would also be her last R&B hit record. In May of 1963 she would chart her last pop hit, SOULVILLE at #93, on Roulette Records.
In December of 1963, Dinah Washington died of an alcohol/pill overdose, she was only 39 years old. During her outstanding career Dinah charted 47 Billboard R&B hits and 21 Hot 100 hits. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 as an Early Influence. She left a legendary body of work that has her ranked at #25 All-Time on the Billboard R&B chart by Joel Whitburn in his Record Research book “Hot R&B Songs” 1942-2010. She is just so, UNFORGETTABLE.