Five Things You Never Knew about Denise LaSalle

Denise LaSalle was an American singer and songwriter who has done a fair amount of record producing as well over the course of her five-decade career. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that she was a significant influence in the blues as well as a number of other musical genres. Unfortunately, LaSalle passed away on January 8 of 2018 because of complications related to a fall that happened in 2017, which is a major loss for the world of music.

Here are five things that you may or may not have known about Denise LaSalle:

Came From Humble Beginnings

LaSalle came from humble beginnings. After all, her parents were sharecroppers, meaning that they were tenant farmers who had to surrender a portion of their harvests as payment for using the land that they farmed. As a result, LaSalle had to pick cotton as well as perform a number of other laborious jobs when she was still a child so as to help support her family.

Started Singing At a Young Age

Speaking of which, LaSalle started singing at a young age, as shown by the fact that she was singing as a member of church choirs. This is perhaps unsurprising considering her fascination with music, as shown by her listening to radio broadcasts as well as listening to the jukeboxes that were still popular in those times. Likewise, when LaSalle moved to Chicago, she started attending live shows at a local theatre as well.

As Much A Songwriter As a Singer

There are some blues singers who don’t write their own material but instead interpret the songs handed to them by the songwriters. However, LaSalle is not one of them, seeing as how she was as much a songwriter as she was a singer. In fact, it is interesting to note that she got started as a singer because of her songwriting. After all, LaSalle handing her songs out to blues singers was that she came to the attention of an executive at Chess Records, who in time, provided her with the help that she needed to record her own record.

She Sang “Trapped By a Thing Called Love”

LaSalle has released a lot of material over the course of her decades-long career. However, one of her best-known songs remains “Trapped By a Thing Called Love,” which was released in 1971, meaning that it was released no more than a short time after she had released her first album in 1967. The song was her single biggest hit on the R&B chart, having sold enough copies to become a gold record.

Called the Queen of the Blues

From time to time, LaSalle has been called the Queen of the Blues, which is a title that speaks volumes about her influence on the blues as a whole. However, it is interesting to note that LaSalle received the title following the death of Koko Taylor in 2009, who was a well-known blues singer as well. The careers of the two women started up at around the same time, with LaSalle having released her first album in 1967 and Taylor having released her first album in 1968.

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