Arago: 29-cent Bessie Smith

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29-cent Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith (1894-1937), the Empress of the Blues, began singing in public as a child for pennies. In 1923, her first recording, "Downhearted Blues," sold an unprecedented 750,000 records. She recorded more than a hundred blues and popular songs, paving the way for future musicians.

Reference:

Postal Bulletin (September 1, 1994).

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