Some legendary heroes fight their most epic battles after death. Something like this happens with certain musicians, who mark new milestones in their careers from the grave. Surely many remember, in the early nineties, an advertisement for a certain brand of jeans in which a certain young man walked the gardens of luxurious houses, ending with a dip in the pool to the sound of a song called “Mad About the Boy”. The voice that ran through the viewer like a chill during those seconds was that of Dinah Washington. It had been almost thirty years since he passed away, but not one iota of his power was lost on the recording.
That voice had belonged to a girl born under the name of Ruth Lee Jones mid-twenties in Alabama. From her earliest childhood, Ruth had mastered the art of interpreting the gospel and, like so many other young talents of her time, she alternated from adolescence music of the lord with the jazz, showing a precocious mastery in each of the different styles of fashion at the time. And it was at one of the performances at the Garrick club (where he shared performances with another “blues queen” as Billie Holiday), when he had the opportunity to be part of a great orchestra, led by one of the greatest of his time, Lionel Hampton).
As the 1940s passed, and the first samples of the precedents of the rock and roll, the young artist began to be a regular at the top of the charts R&B, the true thermometer of success for colored music in a society segregated in those days even in the musical aspect. For Washington, there was no challenge or forbidden style to his tremendous vocal range: blues, jazz, or even country (with a version of “Cold, Cold Heart” by himself. Hank Williams. Almost thirty times it reached the top singles positions, and some of them broke the barrier of the general sales charts. An overwhelming success, palpable in songs like “What a Difference a Day Made“or your version of”Unforgettable“, which did nothing more than divide fans and critics between adoration and reproach for making music more commercial than other contemporary talents of the artist.
Nor was it something that mattered to the diva, who continued to alternate genres with astonishing ease during her later years. A career that would be cut short before turning forty, December 14, 1963. A lethal combination of slimming pills and took her away while he slept, still far from reaching the ceiling in his artistic career. Although, as that book said, “great stories never end”, and the best proof of that was that advertisement for jeans. Dinah Washington He continued to seduce through his voice, and may it last for many more years.