|Birth name||Lillian Green|
December 22, 1919|
Mississippi, United States
|Died||April 14, 1954
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Associated acts||Big Bill Broonzy|
Lillian "Lil" Green (December 22, 1919 – April 14, 1954) was an American blues singer and songwriter. She was among the leading female rhythm and blues singers of the 1940s, possessed with an ability to bring power to ordinary material and compose superior songs of her own.
Life and career
Originally named Lillian Green, she was born in Mississippi; after the early deaths of her parents, she went to Chicago, Illinois, where she began performing in her teens and where she would make all of her recordings.
Green was noted for superb timing and a distinctively sinuous voice. She was 18 when she recorded her first session for the 35 cent Bluebird subsidiary of RCA. In the 1930s she and Big Bill Broonzy had a night club act together. Her two biggest hits were, firstly, her own composition "Romance in the Dark" (1940), which was later covered by many artists, such as Dinah Washington and Nina Simone (in 1967), although Billie Holiday also recorded a different song with the same name. Then came Green's own (1941) version of Kansas Joe McCoy's minor key blues and jazz influenced song, "Why Don't You Do Right?", which was covered by Peggy Lee in 1942 and many others since. As well as performing in Chicago clubs, Green toured with Tiny Bradshaw and other bands, but never really broke away from the black theatre circuit.
Although Green signed with Atlantic Records in 1951, she was already in poor health. She died in Chicago in 1954 of pneumonia, at the age of 34, and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Gary, Indiana.
- Allmusic biography - accessed January 2008
- Shadwick, Keith (2001). "Lil Green". Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Quintet Publishing, Inc. p. 461. ISBN 1-86155-385-4.
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. pp. 114–115. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
- Oldies.com biography