The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

Bessie Smith’s “Hard Time Blues”

Bessie Smith was an African American Blues singer who worked hard to gain her fame and success in a time where she was looked down on for the color of her skin. Due to her hard work and powerful voice she heightened her career and collaborated with many voices like Louis Armstrong and has been the influence for stars like Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. This song “Hard Time Blues” talks about her moving on from a man who does not treat her right. Bessie Smiths life and struggles with love motivated many of her songs and made her the inspiration for a movie released in 2015 called Bessie. This movie was about her life and stormy relationships and she was played by Queen Latifah. Bessie’s life started from nothing. She went from a voice no one thought twice about to a voice that still echoes in many hearts today.

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