Jazz, blues singer, Billie Holiday
birth name: Eleanora Fagan Gough

Billie Holiday

April 7, 1915, Baltimore, MD ~ July 17, 1959, New York, NY

“There's no damn business like show business - you have to smile to keep from throwing up.” ~ Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday was one of jazz’s greatest song stylists. Her ability to make a song her own by imposing her personality on it in an era when most singers remained faithful to the composer's lead sheet anticipated many vocalists as stylistically diverse as Frank Sinatra and, in a later generation, Joni Mitchell. ~ Decca: Billie Holiday ~ retrieved May 12, 2013 © Decca,

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April 7, 1979 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (1) The Bee Gees, Tragedy ~ #2 (3) The Doobie Brothers, What A Fool Believes ~ #1 (2) Gloria Gaynor, I Will Survive


Holiday's life was a study in hardship. Her parents married when she was three, but her musician father was seldom present and the couple soon divorced. Receiving little schooling as a child, Holiday scrubbed floors and ran errands for a nearby brothel so she could listen to idols Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith on the Victrola in its parlor. Brutally raped at ten, she was sent to a reformatory for “seducing” her adult attacker; at fourteen she was jailed for prostitution. Determined to find work as a dancer or singer in Harlem, Holiday moved to New York City in 1928 and landed her first job at Jerry Preston's Log Cabin, where her vocals moved customers to tears. Discovered in another Harlem club by jazz record producer John Hammond in 1932, she made her first recording a year later with Benny Goodman's orchestra. ~ All about Jazz: Billie Holiday ~ retrieved July 17, 2013 © All About Jazz

Billie Holiday ~ Voted into the 1961 Downbeat Jazz Hall Of Fame (Readers Poll).

In 2012 two Billie Holiday albums made it to the #DLW500 Dylan's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time ~ #333 Songs For Distinque Lovers (1957) ~ #38 Lady In Satin (1958)

Billie Holiday ~ Lady In Satin (1958) ~ Named one of the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die in 2008.

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