The young life of Dinah Washington came to and end today (December 14, 1963). The singer was found dead from an overdose on presecription sleeping pills by husband Dick “Night Train” Lane, a pro football player. The pair had been married for six months when Washington died, although it was her seventh marriage.
Washington flourished as a singer who’s catalog includes Blue’s, Jazz, R&B and pop tunes.
Washington was born Ruth Lee Jones August 29 in Tuscaloose, Alabama.
Washington began working in local clubs as a teenager and by the time she was 18,she landed a gig as singer with Lionel Hampton’s new band.
In the 40’s she recorded raunchy tracks like “Evil Girl Blues” and “Big Long Slidin’ Thing.”
In the early 50’s she shed the blues for a jazzy sound, recording with the likes of Maynard Ferguson, Max Roach, Cannonball Adderley and Clifford Brown.
By the mid 1950’s,Washington had graduated to R&B with a string of hits like and “You Got What It Takes” and “A Rockin Good Way” with Brook Benton.
Washington’s biggest hit came in 1959, when she released the classic, “What a Difference a Day Makes” for Roulette.