Eva Marie Cassidy (February 2, 1963 – November 2, 1996) was an American vocalist known for her interpretations of jazz, blues, folk, gospel, country and pop classics. In 1992 she released her first album, The Other Side, a set of duets with go-go musician Chuck Brown, followed by a live solo album, Live at Blues Alley in 1996. Although she had been honored by the Washington Area Music Association, she was virtually unknown outside her native Washington, D.C., when she died of melanoma (skin cancer) in 1996.
Four years later, Cassidy's music was brought to the attention of British audiences when her version of "Over the Rainbow" was played by Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2. Following the overwhelming response, a camcorder recording of "Over the Rainbow", taken at Blues Alley in Washington, was shown on BBC Two's Top of the Pops 2. Shortly afterwards, the compilation album Songbird climbed to the top of the UK Albums Charts, almost three years after its initial release. The chart success in the United Kingdom and Ireland led to increased recognition worldwide; her posthumously released recordings, including three UK number 1s, have sold more than ten million copies. Her music has also charted top 10 positions in Australia, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland. In 1993, Cassidy had a malignant mole removed from her back. Three years later, during a promotional event for the Live at Blues Alley album in July 1996, Cassidy noticed an ache in her hips, which she attributed to stiffness from painting murals while perched atop a stepladder. The pain persisted and a few weeks later, X-rays revealed that the melanoma had spread to her lungs and bones. Her doctors estimated she had three to five months to live. Cassidy opted for aggressive treatment, but her health deteriorated rapidly. In the early fall, at a benefit concert for her at the Bayou, she made her final public appearance, closing the set with "What a Wonderful World" in front of an audience of friends, fans and family. Additional chemotherapy was unavailing, and in six weeks she had died. Cassidy died on November 2, 1996, at her family home in Bowie. She was 33. In accordance with her wishes, her body was cremated and the ashes were scattered on the lake shores of St. Mary's River Watershed Park, a nature reserve near California, Maryland. After Cassidy's death, local folk singer Grace Griffith introduced the Blues Alley recording to Bill Straw from her label, Blix Street Records. Straw approached the Cassidy family to put together a new album. In 1998, a compilation of tracks from Cassidy's three released recordings was assembled into the CD Songbird. This CD lingered in relative obscurity for two years until being given airplay by Terry Wogan on his wide-reaching BBC Radio 2 show Wake Up to Wogan, following recommendation by his producer Paul Walters. The album sold more than 100,000 copies in the following months. The New York Times spoke of her "silken soprano voice with a wide and seemingly effortless range, unerring pitch and a gift for phrasing that at times was heart-stoppingly eloquent. A great singer and sad lost to the music world.
|Eva Marie Cassidy|
|Birth name||Eva Marie Cassidy|
|Born||February 2, 1963|
|Origin||Maryland, United States|
|Died||November 2, 1996 (aged 33)|
|Genres||Soul , Jazz, Blues, Folk, Gospeland Pop|
|Occupations||Landscaper, Painter, Singer,Guitarist|
|Instruments||Vocals, Guitar, Electric Guitar,Piano|
Blix Street (U.S.)
|Associated acts||Chuck Brown, Katie Melua|