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Popular Music

Belle Barth

A bawdy comedian who inspired Bette Midler, Belle Barthe narrowly avoided trouble with the law by delivering some of her most wicked punch lines in Yiddish.

Belle Baker

Torch singer Belle Baker’s resonant voice made her the first choice of many composers to debut their songs, introducing 163 songs to the public over the course of her career on stage and in recordings.

Sophie Tucker

“The Last of the Red-Hot Mamas,” Sophie Tucker defied conventions about gender, age, weight, and ethnicity with her saucy comic banter and music.

Sylvia Blagman Syms

A jazz saloon singer with a gift for connecting with her audiences, Sylvia Blagman Syms continued performing despite ill health and was praised as one of the greats by performers that included Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, and Duke Ellington.

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand’s outsized personality, combined with her voice and acting talents, made her one of the most successful performers of the twentieth century.

Dinah Shore

Dinah Shore was one of the top recording artists of the 1940s, with hits like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” before starting a new career in the 1970s as a talk show host who prized conversation over confrontation.

Bette Midler

Unapologetically bawdy, Bette Midler used elements from earlier brassy entertainers like Sophie Tucker in her comedy and music, but with a style that was all her own.

Carole King

Carole King not only wrote many of the best-loved songs of the 1960s and ‘70s, she was a performer in her own right, winning several Grammys for her music.

Dorothy Fields

Dorothy Fields wrote songs for a wide variety of musicals that became dearly loved classics of American culture, from “Hey Big Spender” to “A Fine Romance” and “The Way You Look Tonight,” which won an Academy Award in 1936.

Naomi Weisstein

Naomi Weisstein’s career has run the gamut from feminist rock musician to groundbreaking psychologist to stand-up comedian.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Popular Music." (Viewed on September 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/popular-music>.

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