BiographyMa Rainey was singing the blues long before the phonograph was invented. By the time her voice was recorded, she had already taught her art to a legion of acolytes, including the "Empress of the Blues" herself, Bessie Smith. Though she recorded with such early twentieth century rising talents as Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson, Ma Rainey's popularity began to wane in the early '30s, forcing her to retire in 1933. She is considered an enormous figure in the development of the blues, R&B and rock 'n' roll.
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