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Abbey Lincoln Facts

Abbey Lincoln: The Extraordinary Life of a Jazz Legend


Abbey Lincoln was a jazz singer and songwriter who graced the world with her sultry voice and incredible talent. She was a deeply passionate woman who gave her all to her craft and is remembered as one of the industry’s greatest performers. Abbey Lincoln’s life was full of achievements and accomplishments, as well as some heartbreak and struggles. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Abbey Lincoln’s life, career, relationships, and more.


Abbey Lincoln was born on August 6, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois, as Anna Marie Wooldridge. She was raised in poverty by her mother, a devout Seventh-day Adventist. As a child, she was exposed to music in her church, where she sang in the choir. Abbey was a gifted student and went on to study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before pursuing a career in music.

Age and Height

Abbey Lincoln passed away on August 14, 2010, at the age of 80. She was 5 feet 6 inches tall.

Relationships and Children

Abbey Lincoln was married twice. Her first husband was drummer Max Roach, whom she married in 1962. The couple divorced in 1970. Abbey later married jazz musician, Marc Cary, in 1990, and they remained together until her death. Abbey had no children.


Abbey Lincoln started her career as a nightclub singer in the 1950s. She recorded her first album, “Abbey Lincoln’s Affair…A Story of a Girl in Love,” in 1956. Throughout the ’60s, she recorded multiple albums, including “Straight Ahead,” which is considered by many to be her masterpiece. Her music was known for its political and social themes, and Abbey used her platform to advocate for civil rights and racial justice. She also expanded her career into acting, with notable roles in films such as “The Girl Can’t Help It” and “For Love of Ivy.”

Top Songs

Abbey Lincoln’s most popular songs include:

– “Afro Blue”
– “Throw It Away”
– “Bird Alone”
– “The Music Is the Magic”
– “For All We Know”
– “Down Here Below”
– “Wholly Earth”
– “Painted Lady”

Net Worth

Abbey Lincoln’s net worth is estimated to be around $1 million at the time of her death.


1. What inspired Abbey Lincoln to become a musician?

Abbey Lincoln was inspired to become a musician after listening to the radio as a child. She heard a song by Nat King Cole, which she said “just floored” her. From that moment, she knew she wanted to be a singer.

2. What made Abbey Lincoln stand out from other jazz singers?

Abbey Lincoln’s unique voice and her ability to infuse her music with powerful political and social messages set her apart from other jazz singers. She wasn’t afraid to use her platform to advocate for issues she believed in, and her music resonated with people on a deep level.

3. How did Abbey Lincoln meet Max Roach?

Abbey Lincoln met Max Roach in 1952 when they were both performing in the same nightclub in New York City.

4. What was Abbey Lincoln’s relationship with Nina Simone?

Abbey Lincoln and Nina Simone were contemporaries and fellow trailblazers in the jazz industry. They were friends and would often perform together.

5. Did Abbey Lincoln win any awards for her music?

Abbey Lincoln was nominated for four Grammy Awards for her work as a jazz singer.

6. Who were Abbey Lincoln’s musical influences?

Abbey Lincoln cited artists such as Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, and Carmen McRae as her musical influences.

7. What other work did Abbey Lincoln do besides singing and acting?

Abbey Lincoln also worked as a poet and a painter throughout her life.

8. How did Abbey Lincoln’s music change over time?

Abbey Lincoln’s music evolved over the years, as she grew and changed as a person. Her earlier work was more traditional jazz, while her later work became more experimental and avant-garde. Regardless of the style, her music always maintained its powerful message and emotional resonance.

9. What challenges did Abbey Lincoln face as a black woman in the music industry?

Abbey Lincoln faced racism and discrimination throughout her career. She was often relegated to performing in segregated venues and was not given the same opportunities as her white counterparts. She also faced criticism for her political activism and was blacklisted by some in the industry as a result.

10. What was Abbey Lincoln’s impact on the jazz industry?

Abbey Lincoln’s impact on the jazz industry was significant. She was a trailblazer for women and people of color and used her platform to advocate for social justice and equality. Her music continues to inspire and resonate with people to this day.

11. How did Abbey Lincoln’s personal life influence her music?

Abbey Lincoln’s personal experiences, including her struggles with racism and discrimination, influenced her music deeply. She drew on these experiences to write powerful lyrics that spoke to the social and political issues of her time.

12. Was Abbey Lincoln a feminist?

Abbey Lincoln is often considered a feminist icon. Her music and activism were focused on empowering women and advocating for gender equality.

13. What kind of legacy did Abbey Lincoln leave behind?

Abbey Lincoln’s legacy is one of courage, resilience, and artistry. She was a trailblazer in the jazz industry and paved the way for future generations of women and people of color. Her music and activism continue to inspire people to stand up for what they believe in and fight for a better world.

14. What advice would Abbey Lincoln give to aspiring musicians?

Abbey Lincoln believed that the most important thing for aspiring musicians was to stay true to themselves. She advised artists to never compromise their integrity and to always use their platform to make a positive difference in the world.

15. How is Abbey Lincoln remembered today?

Abbey Lincoln is remembered as a jazz legend and a trailblazer for civil rights and equality. Her music and activism continue to inspire people to this day. She is revered as one of the greatest performers of all time and her legacy lives on through her powerful message and soulful voice.

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