Dinah Washington

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Natalie Cole
  • Category:
    Early Influences
Dinah Washington


Her career was brief but dazzling.

Music icon Quincy Jones said, “She could take the melody in her hand, hold it like an egg, crack it open, fry it, let it sizzle, reconstruct it, put the egg back in the box and back in the refrigerator and you would've still understood every single syllable."

Hall of Fame Essay


Michael Hill

Dinah Washington, as she herself would readily acknowl­edge, was called Queen of the Blues, During a show at the London Palladium, she told an audience that purportedly included Queen Elizabeth, “There is but one heaven, one hell, one queen, and your Elizabeth is an imposter.”

Washington was born Ruth Lee Jones in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1924, but grew up in Chicago’s Southside. Washington was raised by a devoutly religious mother who sang in church and taught piano in the neighbor­hood,  Washington learned to play piano at an early age and proved to be a powerful gospel singer.

She and her mother became a popular attraction at local churches, earning little money but considerable respect.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program Cover 1993
1 of 4
intricate, penetrating vocals
Natalie Cole



Photography: Kevin Mazur, WireImage