Personalities | Bessie Smith | Roots of Rock

(Vocals, 1894–1937)

Bessie Smith was the first blues recording star during the form’s initial heyday in the ‘jazz age’ of the 1920s. A protégé of the great Ma Rainey, Smith and her booming, sorrowful voice took the East Coast by storm in stage shows in the 1920s. Signed to Columbia Records, she scored with ‘Downhearted Blues’, ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out’ and others. Smith died in a car accident in Mississippi in 1937.

Styles & Forms | Roots of Rock
Personalities | Hank Snow | Roots of Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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