Birth name Mabel Louise Smith
Born May 1, 1924
Jackson, Tennessee, U.S.
Died January 23, 1972 (aged 47)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Genres R&B, blues, gospel
Years active 1936–1972
Labels King Records, Okeh, Savoy, Epic, Brunswick, Scepter, Chess, Port, Rojac, Encore
Mabel Louise Smith (May 1, 1924 – January 23, 1972), known professionally as Big Maybelle, was an American R&B singer. Her 1956 hit single “Candy” received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.
Born in Jackson, Tennessee, on May 1, 1924, Big Maybelle sang gospel as a child; by her teens, she had switched to rhythm and blues. She began her professional career with Dave Clark’s Memphis Band in 1936, and also toured with the all-female International Sweethearts of Rhythm. She then joined Christine Chatman’s Orchestra, and made her first recordings with Chatman in 1944, before recording with the Tiny Bradshaw’s Orchestra from 1947 to 1950.
Her debut solo recordings, recorded as Mabel Smith, were for King Records in 1947, where she was backed by Oran “Hot Lips” Page; however, she had little initial success