Lil Green (December 22, 1919 – April 14,
1954) was an American blues singer and songwriter.
Originally named Lillian Green, she was born in Mississippi; after the early
deaths of her parents, she went to Chicago, Illinois, where she began
performing in her teens and where she would make all of her recordings.
Green was noted for superb timing and a distinctively sinuous voice. She was
18 when she recorded her first session for the 35 cent Bluebird subsidiary
of RCA. In the 1930s she and Big Bill Broonzy had a night club act together.
Her two biggest hits were, firstly, her own composition "Romance in the
Dark" (1940), which was later covered by many artists, such as
Dinah Washington and
Nina Simone (in 1967), although
Holiday also recorded a different song with the same name. Then came Green's
own (1941) version of Kansas Joe McCoy's minor key blues and jazz influenced
song, "Why Don't You Do Right?", which was covered by Peggy Lee in 1942 and
many others since. As well as performing in Chicago clubs, Green toured with
Tiny Bradshaw and other bands, but never really broke away from the black
Although Green signed with Atlantic Records in 1951, she was already in poor
health. She died in Chicago in 1954 of pneumonia, at the age of 34, and is
buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Gary, Indiana.