In 1925, Empress of the Blues Bessie Smith famously recorded St. Louis Blues - the classic recording featured Louis Armstrong on cornet. The W.C. Handy song was one of the earliest blues songs to become a popular hit, and it had been recorded several times before Bessie Smith's version. Over the years it has been recorded by many artists from Glen Miller to Stevie Wonder - who won 2 Grammy's for his 1999 recording. The song was written in 1914, and it originally appeared in the Charlie Chaplin film The Star Boarder that year. In 1917, singer and actress Ethel Waters was the first known to perform the song in public. In 1929, Bessie Smith's supreme 1925 cover of the song was memorialized in the 2-reel short film St. Louis Blues - her only film appearance. That same year, Louis Armstrong recorded the song with his popular Louis Armstrong Orchestra. Both Bessie Smith's original recording and Louis Armstrong's 1929 recording of St. Louis Blues have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The St. Louis NHL team, the St Louis Blues, got their name from the forever popular blues song - which is played at the beginning of every game. During the National Anthem at every home game, as the song finishes with "and the home of the brave", the crowd shouts out "and the home of the blues." In the 1920's, Bessie Smith was the highest-paid black entertainer in America, yet after her death her grave sat unmarked for 33 years until a headstone was placed there by Janis Joplin in 1970. View the full 1929 St. Louis Blues film HERE.
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