Monthly Archives: June 2010

Mamie Smith: The First Lady of the Blues

Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues,” the first recording of an African-American singing the blues, revolutionized pop music. Witnesses claimed that after its release in 1920, the song could be heard coming from the open windows of virtually any black neighborhood in America. “That record turned around the recording industry,” remembered New Orleans jazzman Danny Barker. “There was a great appeal amongst black people and whites who loved this blues business to buy records and buy phonographs. Every family had a phonograph in their house, specifically behind Mamie Smith’s first record.” Continue reading