Odetta, American Folk Music Legend, Dies at 77
The ‘Queen of American Folk Music’ passes at age 77
American folksinger Odetta died this evening, December 02, 2008. The 77-year-old singer was being cared for at New York's Lenox Hill hospital for health complications.
Odetta was considered to be one of the most influential folk artists of the past 50 years, notably for influencing other women performers such as Janis Joplin and Joan Baez. She was even credited for inspiring Bob Dylan's early decision to trade in his electric guitar for an acoustic one.
Performing alongside Pete Seeger and Harry Belafonte, Odetta's work throughout the American civil rights movement led Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to refer to her as the "queen of American folk music."
Odetta, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, hoped to be well enough to perform at US President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration celebration in January 2009. A consummate performer to the end, it was her last desire to sing Labi Siffre's song entitled, "Something Inside So Strong" that kept her in good spirits according to close friends.
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