Saturday, August 1, 2015

40 Year Itch : My Yesterday Was Blue

Grey Gardens, 1975

Esther Phillips : What A Diff'rence A Day Makes

   By the end of the 1950's, the decade Dinah Washington made a Top 10 hit out of  the 1934 tune "What A Difference a Day Makes", Esther Phillips was a has been. As "Little Esther" she topped the R and B charts with "Mistrusting Blues". Now she was drug addict who, in 1954,  witnessed Johnny Ace accidentally shooting himself to death. It was Kenny Rogers of all people who got her back on track in the 1960's. She reached #1 in 1962 with the R and B hit "Release Me".

In the 1960's and 70's she made critically acclaimed albums like 1974's Black-Eyed Blues while battling her heroin addiction. Then, in 1975, she recorded her breakthrough disco hit, with Dinah Washington's old hit., sounding not unlike Billie Holiday in platform shoes.It was such a sensation she performed the song on a new NBC late night show called Saturday Night Live and earned a Grammy nomination. Phillips would record up until the year of her death in 1984.

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