Mamie Smith died 65 years ago today, aged 63, in New York City.
Who was Mamie Smith?
She was the birth-mother of the blues. It was her 'Crazy Blues', recorded way back in 1920 - recorded when she was already 37 years old - that made the white-owned record labels to realise that there was a commercial market waiting out there to hear and buy black repertoire by black artists. How did 'Crazy Blues' achieve this? by selling a million copies and making Perry Bradford $53,000 in composer’s royalties (and the music publisher at least as much).