Baby Washington (b. November 13, 1940) is a highly acclaimed and veteran R&B/soul singer, songwriter, and pianist with warm, expressive contralto vocals who became famous during the early and mid 1960s. Her best known songs include the lovelorn "That's How Heartaches Are Made" (1963), a lushly orchestrated ballad with sweet background vocals and organ and castanets accompaniments.
Born Justine Washington in Bamberg, South Carolina, and raised in Harlem, New York, she began her career in 1956 while still in her teens as a member of The Hearts, a female R&B group best known for "Lonely Nights" (1956), a Top 10 hit on the R&B charts. At that time, she also sang with The Jaynetts (later of "Sally, Go 'Round The Roses" fame) and can be heard performing the lead on one of the group's earliest singles, "I Wanted To Be Free." In 1957, she began recording solo as Baby Washington on J&S Records and signed with Neptune the following year, switching soon after to Sue Records where she remained through the mid 1960s.
Baby Washington made her national debut in early 1959 on the R&B charts with the self-penned "The Time," a romantic doo-wop-styled ballad which became a Top 40 hit. Her first hit on the Pop/Rock charts followed in mid 1959 with "The Bells (On Our Wedding Day)," another self-penned doo-wop ballad which made the R&B charts Top 20. Several minor hits followed that included another ballad written by Washington, "Nobody Cares (About Me)" (1961, as Jeanette (Baby) Washington), until her fame took off in 1963 with the Bob Halley/Ben Raleigh-penned "That's How Heartaches Are Made," a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 which made the R&B Top 10. This smash was followed by a string of hits on both charts that included "There He Is" (1963), "Leave Me Alone" (1963), "Hey Lonely One" (1963), "I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby" (1964, as Justine Washington), "The Clock" (1964), "It'll Never Be Over For Me" (1964), "Only Those In Love" (1965), and "Forever" (1973, duet with Don Gardner). Her final charting song came in 1980 on the R&B charts with "Wolf Tickets." Other songs for which Washington is well known include her non-charting cover of Little Anthony & The Imperials' "Hurts So Bad."
Baby Washington has performed actively to the present day mainly on the East Coast and cruise ships, with occasional appearances at various music festivals worldwide. U.K. pop legend Dusty Springfield, who once cited Washington as her all-time favorite singer, covered "That's How Heartaches Are Made" and "I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby" (retitled "I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face") on her albums, "Ev'rything's Coming Up Dusty" (1965) and "Where Am I Going?" (1967), respectively.
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- That's How Heartaches Are Made 1963
(This song later also became a hit for the Marvelettes (1969).)
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