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Bessie Smith

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  • Year:
    1989
  • Inducted by:
    Anita Baker
  • Category:
    Early Influences
bessie_smith

Hall of Fame Essay

1989

Chris Albertson

She showed me the air and taught me how to fill it,” said Janis Joplin of Bessie Smith, whose potent voice and distinct style continue to inspire new generations of vocalists fifty-one years after her death. 

“I know that people don’t sing like they used to,” Alberta Hunter said in a 1978 interview. “I mean, styles keep changing, but Bessie had some­thing in her voice, something in her delivery that tugged at your soul and inspired  you to sing.” 

She was a remarkable woman who rose to the top of her profession

Anita Baker

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Gallery

Photography: Kevin Mazur, WireImage

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