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African American women singers

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09:06

The Mythic Power Of Bessie Smith.

"The Empress of the Blues" gave voice the listeners' tribulations and yearnings of the 1920s and '30s. A new 10-CD box set collects the complete works of the colossus who straddled jazz and blues.

31:36

Fresh Air Remembers Donna Summer, Queen Of Disco

In 2003, Donna Summer appeared on Fresh Air to talk about her memoir, Ordinary Girl, her hit Love to Love You Baby and her collaborator, record producer Giorgio Moroder. We remember Summer -- who died Thursday at the age of 63 -- with excerpts from that interview.

21:16

Etta James: The 1994 Fresh Air Interview

Etta James, the legendary vocalist who is perhaps known for her version of the song "At Last," has died. She was 73. Fresh Air remembers the singer with excerpts from a 1994 interview about her lengthy career.

07:48

Darlene Love: A Background Singer Takes The Spotlight

Love sang background vocals on some of the biggest hits of the 1960s, including "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Johnny Angel." On March 14, Love will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Fresh Air honors the vocalist with excerpts from a 1988 interview.

20:43

Bettye LaVette's Journey To The National Stage

If you've never heard of Bettye LaVette, the soul singer who belted out "A Change Is Gonna Come" with Jon Bon Jovi at the Inauguration Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial on Jan 18., you may be wondering why.

18:40

Etta James: Still Singing Her Song

After five decades in the music business, Etta James continues to draw fans. Her signature song, "At Last" remains a favorite and soon R&B singer Beyonce will portray the singer in a new movie, "Cadillac Records."

18:35

Ronnie Spector's Recording Career

Ronnie Spector, a member of the 1960s girl group The Ronettes, is about to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She left the music business for a number of years, before returning to recording.

Rebroadcast from Aug. 31, 1987.

27:04

Ruth Brown: Remembering Miss Rhythm

Rhythm-and-blues singer Ruth Brown died last week at the age of 78 from complications following a heart attack. Brown got her start in the 1940s and influenced an entire generation of singers including Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Little Richard and Bonnie Raitt. Her hits include "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean" and "Teardrops From My Eyes." Later, she appeared in John Waters' film Hairspray and in the Broadway hit Black and Blue. She published an autobiography, Miss Rhythm, in 1996. Rhythm." This interview originally aired on Dec. 22, 1997.

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