Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
The Writer Christine de Pizan at Her Desk

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bessie Smith, Empress of the Blues

Bessie Smith (died 26 September 1937)


Stories about the tumultuous life and tragic death of Bessie Smith have too frequently overshadowed her life and accomplishments as a musician.

There are plenty of accounts of her life online--I'll link you here to Robert Dupuis's excellent account in Contemporary Black Biography, and there you will find a complete discography and an ample bibliography.

But here's the best way to remember Bessie Smith today--here's "Young Woman's Blues" (recorded in 1926), here's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" (recorded in 1927), and here's "I Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl" (recorded in 1931).