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Dinah Washington

Published 5:45 PM ET, Mon December 9, 2013
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American blues singer Dinah Washington was described by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the most popular black female recording artist of the 1950s. The famous singer was only 39 when she died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs on December 14, 1963. Here, we take a look at her life and the music she left behind: Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images
Born Ruth Lee Jones and raised in Chicago, Washington made her break by singing in nightclubs and theaters when she was a young girl. Here, she performs at the Chateau Gardens in New York City on September 5, 1952. PoPsie Randolph/Getty Images
Having been married seven times, Washington sang with gripping power and conviction, knowing what it was to have loved and lost. Gai Terrell/Redferns/Getty Images
A poster for the 1955 film "Rock 'n' Roll Revue," which featured Washington along with The Clovers, Big Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole. GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty Images
Washington was raised in church, singing gospel music, playing piano and directing her church choir. in this 1958 photo, she sings at a church service in Newport, Rhode Island. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Washington in a recording studio in 1960. The catchy song, "Baby, You Got What It Takes," featuring Washington and Brook Benton, soared to success. Gilles Petard/Redferns/Getty images
Some of Washington's most famous songs, such as "Unforgettable," "Teach Me Tonight," and "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes," ended up in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images