Birth of Blues Singer, Lyricist, and Actress Alberta Hunter

Rating: 5 (2 votes)

Alberta Hunter was born on April 1, 1895 in Memphis, Tennessee. Both of her parents were former slaves. At age 15, Hunter left home for Chicago, Illinois, where she launched her singing career, performing with King Oliver's legendary Creole Jazz Band. She came of age as a singer when female musicians received little respect. Her career pinnacled twice: in the 1920s and 1930s, she was one of the top recording artists, and in the 1970s, during which she opened for the Newport Jazz Festival and played at the White House for President Jimmy Carter. She is perhaps best known for her songs “T'Ain't Nobody's Business,' “Down Hearted Blues,' and “You Can't Do What My Last Man Did.'
In 1978, a film titled “Remember My Name' premiered in Hunter's hometown of Memphis. The film, staring Geraldine Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin's daughter) studies the life of Hunter and her rise to fame. Following the premiere of the film, Hunter, at 83 years of age, appeared in an invitation-only concert at a Memphis jazz club. As a performer, she left a legacy as the godmother of jazz and blues. Her unique songwriting and snappy performance style inspired many black female singers, including Aretha Franklin and Bessie Smith.