Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an American blues singer.Sometimes referred to as The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on subsequent jazz vocalists.
Smith became the highest-paid black entertainer of her day. Columbia nicknamed her "Queen of the Blues," but a PR-minded press soon upgraded her title to "Empress". She made some 160 recordings for Columbia, often accompanied by the finest musicians of the day, most notably Louis Armstrong, James P. Johnson, Joe Smith, Charlie Green and Fletcher Henderson.
Recordings of Bessie Smith were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. This special Grammy Award was established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have "qualitative or historical significance."
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