“Lyin’ to me was worse than what he could’ve done with an...Read More
“I do often wonder, suppose it was a big hit. I’d probably want...Read More
Session #71: Los Angeles, September 3, 1954 Verve records, Billie Holiday &...Read More
…an argument with her mother over money led to the song.Read More
…credited to Lady herself. And on the subject of this song Herzog was gru...Read More
Unusually there was time left over for an extra side, and the best of the f...Read More
While these autumnal sides bear some of the frayed vocal moments often hear...Read More
Billie’s first copyright, was largely improvised just before or durin...Read More
…And in the control room we were all crying. When the show was over, they...Read More
This live film of Lady with the Basie band is a lucky find for the sake of ...Read More
…it’s clear to see that there were thought processes going on, rath...Read More
The Penguin Guide to Jazz expressed a basic reservation about the album, de...Read More
It was written for the show “Roberta” (1933), where it was intr...Read More
The session is notable for its inclusion of some of most of Billie’s ...Read More
…sung in the film by Violet Lorraine and included an introductory verse, ...Read More
Paul Whiteman hit number one on the Harlem Hit Parade charts for three non-...Read More
Holiday approached her recording label, Columbia, about the song, but the c...Read More
then onto an unparalleled version of Some Other Spring, one of Billie’s f...Read More
It appeared on the new format of vinyl LP, Lady’s first full-length a...Read More
It was first recorded in 1937 by many artists, as was the custom of the day...Read More
…and her version 1944 version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame i...Read More
…she holds a saucy gravitas, that no peppy tempo could ever obliterate. H...Read More
Billie recorded this song no fewer than 14 times, across four recording ses...Read More
This song was revived by R&B/soul singer Diana Ross, when she portraye...Read More
…the record label described it as the “Hungarian Suicide Song”...Read More
The bruised optimism of this 1934 jazz standard—which allows that a New Y...Read More
|A Fine Romance||Fields/Kern|
|A Foggy Day||Gershwin/Gershwin|
|A Sailboat In The Moonlight||Loeb/Lombardo|
|A Sunbonnet Blue (And A Yellow Straw Hat)||Fain/Kahal|
|A Yiddish Momme||Pollack/Yellen|
|Ain’t Misbehavin’ (I’m Savin’ My Love For You)||Brooks/Razaf/Waller|
|Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do||Grainger/Robbins|
|All Of Me||Marks/Simons|
|All Of You||Porter|
|All Or Nothing At All||Altman/Lawrence|
|All The Way||Cahn/VanHeusen|
|Am I Blue?||Akst/Clarke|
|Any Old Time||Artie Shaw|
|April In My Heart||Carmichael/Meinard|
|April In Paris||Duke/Harburg|
|As Time Goes By||Herman Hupfeld|
|Autumn In New York||Duke|
|Baby Get Lost||Feather|
|Baby, I Don’t Cry Over You||Krouse|
|Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home||Warfield/Williams|
|Back In Your Own Backyard||Dreyer/Jolson/Rose|
|Be Fair To Me Baby||Darnell/Mesner|
|Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out The Barrel)||Brown/Timm/Vejvoda|
|Billie’s Blues (I Love My Man)||Holiday|
|Billie’s Blues (Instrumental)||Holiday|
|Blue Turning Grey Over You||Razaf/Waller|
|Body And Soul||Eyton/Green/Heyman/Sour|
|Born To Love||Jerome/Scholl|
|But Beautiful||Johnny Burke / James Van Heusen|
|But Not For Me||–|
|Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man||Hammerstein/Kern|
|Cheek To Cheek||Berlin|
|Come Rain Or Come Shine||Arlen/Mercer|
|Crazy He Calls Me||Russell/Sigman|
|‘Deed I Do||Hirsch/Rose|
|Darn That Dream||De Lange/Van Heusen|
|Day In, Day Out||Bloom/Mercer|
|Did I Remember?||Adamson/Donaldson|
|Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me||Ellington/Russell|
|Do You Know What It Means (To Miss New Orleans)||Alter/DeLange|
|Do Your Duty||Wilson|
|Don’t Worry ’bout Me||Bloom/Koehler|
|Dream Of Life||Henderson/McRae|
|East Of The Sun||Bowman|
|Easy To Love||Porter|
|Easy To Remember||Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers|
|Eeny Meeny Miney Mo||Johnny Mercer / Matty Malneck|
|Everything Happens For The Best||Holiday/Smith|
|Everything Happens To Me||Adair/Dennis|
|Everything I Have Is Yours||Adamson/Lane|
|Falling In Love Again||Hollander/Lerner|
|Fanfare From Oh, Lady Be Good||–|
|Farewell To Storyville||Williams/Williams|
|Fine And Mellow||Holiday|
|For All We Know||Sam M. Lewis / J. Fred Coots|
|For Heaven’s Sake||Don Meyer / Elsie Bretton / Sherman Edwards|
|Forget If You Can||Joy/Manus/Upham|
|(I Don’t Stand A) Ghost Of A Chance||Crosby/Washington/Young|
|Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You?||Razaf/Redman|
|Georgia On My Mind||Carmichael/Gorrell|
|Getting Some Fun Out Of Life||Burke/Leslie|
|Ghost Of Yesterday||Herzog/Kitchings|
|Gimmie A Pigfoot (And A Bottle Of Beer)||Wilson|
|Girls Were Made To Take Care Of Boys||Blane|
|Glad To Be Unhappy||Lorenz Hart / Richard Rodgers|
|God Bless The Child||Herzog/Holiday|
|Gone With The Wind||Magidson/Wrubel|
|Good Morning Heartache||Drake/Fisher/Higginbotham|
|Having Myself A Time||Ranger/Robin|
|He Ain’t Got Rhythm||Berlin|
|He’s Funny That Way||Richard A. Whiting / Neil Moret|
|Hello, My Darling||Hollander/Loesser|
|Here It Is Tomorrow Again||Gibbons/Ringwald|
|How Am I To Know?||Jack King / Dorothy Parker|
|How Could You?||Dubin/Warren|
|How Deep Is The Ocean?||Berlin|
|I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me||Gaskill/McHugh|
|I Can’t Face The Music||Bloom/Koehler|
|I Can’t Get Started||Duke/Gershwin|
|I Can’t Give You Anything But Love (Baby)||Fields/McHugh|
|I Can’t Pretend||Breuder/Rusincky/Tobias|
|I Cover The Waterfront||Green/Heyman|
|I Cried For You||Arnheim/Freed/Lyman|
|I Didn’t Know What Time It Was||Hart/Rodgers|
|I Don’t Know If I’m Coming Or Going||Fien/Wainer|
|I Don’t Want To Cry Anymore||Schertzinger|
|I Get A Kick Out Of You||Porter|
|I Get Along Without You Very Well||Carmichael|
|I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)||Ellington/Webster|
|I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues||Arlen/Koehler|
|I Hadn’t Anyone Till You||Noble|
|I Hear Music||Lane/Loesser|
|I Must Have That Man||Fields/McHugh|
|I Only Have Eyes For You||Dubin/Warren|
|I Thought About You||Mercer/VanHeusen|
|I Wish I Had You||Green/Stillman/Thornhill|
|I Wished On The Moon||Parker/Ranger|
|I Won’t Believe It||Martin Block/Robinson/Selsman|
|I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone||Johnson|
|I’ll Be Around||Alex Wilder|
|I’ll Be Seeing You||Sammy Fain / Irving Kahal|
|I’ll Get By||Ahlert/Turk|
|I’ll Look Around||Cory/Cross|
|I’ll Never Be The Same||Kahn/Maineck/Signorelli|
|I’ll Never Fail You||Mizzy/Taylor|
|I’ll Never Smile Again||Lowe|
|I’m A Fool To Want You||J. Wolf / Herron / Sinatra|
|I’m All For You||Bresler/Wynn|
|I’m Gonna Lock My Heart (And Throw Away The Key)||Eaton/Shand|
|I’m In A Low Down Groove||Jacobs|
|I’m Painting The Town Red||Tobias/Newman/Stept|
|I’m Pulling Through||Herzog/Kitchings|
|I’m Walkin’ Through Heaven With You||Gordon/Turner|
|I’m Yours||Johnny Green / E.Y. Harburg|
|I’ve Got A Date With A Dream||Gordon/Revel|
|I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm||Berlin|
|If Dreams Come True||Goodman/Mills/Sampson|
|If I Were You||Bernier/Emmerich|
|If My Heart Could Only Talk||Powell/Samuels/Whitcup|
|If The Moon Turns Green||Coates/Hanighen|
|If You Were Mine||Johnny Mercer / Matty Malneck|
|Isn’t This A Lovely Day||Berlin|
|It Had To Be You||Jones/Kahn|
|It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie||Mayhew|
|It’s Easy To Blame The Weather||Cahn/Chaplin|
|It’s Like Reaching For The Moon||Lewis/Marqusee/Sherman|
|It’s Not For Me To Say||Allen/Stillman|
|It’s Too Hot For Words||Samuels/Whitcup/Powell|
|Johnny Mercer Announcement||N.A.|
|Just One More Chance||Coslow/Johnson|
|Just One Of Those Things||Porter|
|Keeps On Rainin’||Kortlander/Williams|
|Lady Sings The Blues||Holiday/Nichols|
|Lady’s Back In Town||Scott|
|Laughing At Life||Kenny/Kenny/Todd/Todd|
|Let’s Call A Heart A Heart||Burke/Johnston|
|Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off||Gershwin/Gershwin|
|Let’s Do It||Porter|
|Let’s Dream In The Moonlight||Malneck/Walsh|
|Life Begins When You’re In Love||Brown/Schertzinger|
|Long Gone Blues||Holiday|
|Love For Sale||Porter|
|Love Me Or Leave Me||Donaldson/Kahn|
|Lover Come Back To Me||Romberg/Hammerstein|
|Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)||Davis/Ramirez/Sherman|
|Mandy Is Two||McGrath/Mercer|
|Maybe You’ll Be There||Bloom/GAllop|
|Me, Myself And I (Are All In Love With You)||Gordon/Kaufman/Roberts|
|Mean To Me||Ahlert/Turk|
|Miss Brown To You||Ranger/Robin/Whiting|
|Moonlight In Vermont||Blackburn/Suessdorf & Blackburn|
|More Than You Know||Eliscu/Rose/Youman|
|My First Impression Of You||Stept/Tobias|
|My Funny Valentine||–|
|My Old Flame||Arthur Johnson / Sam Coslow|
|My Sweet Hunk O’trash||Johnson/Miller|
|(You Ain’t Gonna Bother Me) No More||Camarata/Russell|
|Nice Work If You Can Get It||Gershwin/Gershwin|
|Night And Day||Porter|
|No Good Man||Fisher/GAllop/Higginbotham|
|Norman Granz Announcement||N.A.|
|Now Or Never||Holiday/Lewis|
|Now They Call It Swing||Deleath/Hirsch|
|Ole Miss (Instrumental)||Handy|
|On The Sentimental Side||Burke/Monaco|
|On The Sunny Side Of The Street||Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh|
|One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)||Arlen/Mercer|
|One Never Knows – Does One?||Gordon/Revell|
|One, Two, Button Your Shoe||Burke/Johnston|
|Our Love Is Different||Clinton/Bernier|
|Our Love Is Here To Stay||–|
|(I Love You) Porgy||Gershwin/Gershwin/Heyward|
|P.S. I Love You||Jenkins/Mercer|
|Pennies From Heaven||Burke/Johnson|
|Please Keep Me In Your Dreams||Lawnhurst/Seymour|
|Please Tell Me Now||Clawson/Pope|
|Please, Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone||Clare/Palmer/Stept|
|Practice Makes Perfect||Gold/Roberts|
|Prelude To A Kiss||Ellington/Irving Gordon/Mills|
|Riffin’ The Scotch||Goodman-Buck-McDonough|
|Rocky Mountain Blues||Heywoo/Tucker|
|Romance In The Dark||Coslow/Neisen|
|Say It Isn’t So||Berlin|
|Say It With A Kiss||Mercer/Warren|
|Says My Heart||Lane/Loesser|
|Sentimental & Melancholy||Mercer/Whiting|
|Some Of These Days||Brooks|
|Some Other Spring||Wilson/Herzog|
|Somebody’s On My Mind||Herzog/Holiday|
|Sometimes I’m Happy||Caesar/Grey/Youman|
|Spreadin’ The Rhythm Around||Koehler/McHugh|
|St. Louis Blues||Handy|
|Stars Fell On Alabama||Parish/Perkins|
|Sugar (That Sugar Baby O’ Mine)||Alexander/Mitchell/Pinkard|
|Swing, Brother Swing||Bishop/Raymond/Williams|
|Tell Me More And More (And Then Some)||Holiday|
|That Ole Devil Called Love||Fisher/Roberts|
|That’s All I Ask Of You||Pope|
|That’s Life I Guess||DeRose/Lewis|
|The Blues Are Brewin’||Alter/DeLange|
|The End Of A Love Affair||Edward C. Redding|
|The Man I Love||Gershwin/Gershwin|
|The Mood That I’m In||Sherman/Silver|
|The Moon Looks Down And Laughs||Kalmar/Ruby/Silvers|
|The Nearness Of You||Carmichael/Washington|
|The Same Old Story||Field/Oliphant|
|The Very Thought Of You||Noble|
|The Way You Look Tonight||Dorothy Fields / Jerome Kern|
|Them There Eyes||Pinkard/Tauber/William Tracey|
|There Is No Greater Love||Jones/Symes|
|There’ll Be Some Changes Made||Higgins/Overstreet|
|These ‘n’ That ‘n’ Those||Fairchild/Pascal|
|These Foolish Things||Marvell/Strachey/Walker|
|They Can’t Take That Away From Me||Gershwin/Gershwin|
|Things Are Looking Up||Gershwin/Gershwin|
|This Is Heaven To Me||Reardon/Schweikert|
|This Year’s Kisses||Berlin|
|Time On My Hands||Adamson/Gordon/Youman|
|Too Marvelous For Words||Mercer/Whiting|
|Trav’lin’ All Alone||Johnson|
|Trav’lin’ Light, With Reading From ‘Lady Sings The Blues’||Mercer/Young|
|Twenty-Four Hours A Day||Arthur Swanstrom / Hanley|
|Under A Blue Jungle Moon||Brisben/Conway|
|Underneath The Stars||–|
|Until The Real Thing Comes Along||Chaplin/Holiner/Kahn/Nichols|
|Violets For Your Furs||Tom Adair / Matt Dennis|
|We’ll Be Together Again||Fischer/Laine|
|Weep No More||Adair/Jenkins|
|What A Little Moonlight Can Do||Woods|
|What A Night, What A Moon, What A Girl||Loeb|
|What Is This Going To Get Us?||Herzog/Kitchings|
|What Is This Thing Called Love?||Porter|
|What Shall I Say?||Tinturin|
|When A Woman Loves A Man||Hanighen/Jenkins/Mercer|
|When It’s Sleepy Time Down South||Clarence Muse/Otis/Rene|
|When You Are Away, Dear||Blossom/Herbert|
|When You’re Smiling||Fisher/Goodwin/Shay|
|When Your Lover Has Gone||Swan|
|Where Is The Sun?||David/Redmond|
|Wherever You Are||Friend/Tobias|
|Who Loves You?||Coots/Davis|
|Who Wants Love?||Kahn/Waxman|
|Why Did I Always Depend On You?||Greenwood/McRae/Smith|
|Why Was I Born?||Hammerstein/Kern|
|Willis Conover Announcement||N.A.|
|Willow Weep For Me||Ronell|
|With Thee I Swing||Adlam/Hyde/Stillman|
|Without Your Love||Lange/Stryker|
|Yankee Doodle Never Went To Town||Arthur Freed / Bernie Hanighan|
|You Better Go Now||Graham/Reichner|
|You Can’t Be Mine (And Someone Else’s Too)||Johnson/Webb|
|You Can’t Lose A Broken Heart||Johnson/Miller|
|You Don’t Know What Love Is||Don Raye / Gene DePaul|
|You Go To My Head||Coots/Gillespie|
|You Gotta Show Me||–|
|You Let Me Down||Dubin/Warren|
|You Showed Me The Way||Fitzgerald/Green/McRae/Webb|
|You Took Advantage Of Me||Hart/Rodgers|
|You Turned The Tables On Me||Alter/Mitchell|
|You’re A Lucky Guy||Cahn/Chaplin|
|You’re Driving Me Crazy||Donaldson|
|You’re Gonna See A Lot Of Me||Curtis/Goodhard/Hoffman|
|You’re Just A No Account||Cahn/Chaplin|
|You’re My Thrill||Clare/Gorney|
|You’re So Desirable||Noble|
|You’re Too Lovely To Last||Beal/Fraser/McRae|
|You’ve Changed||Bill Carey / Carl Fischer|
|Your Mother’s Son-In-Law||Holiner/Nichols|
|Yours And Mine||Brown/Freed|
This was Holiday’s last album released on Clef Records, for the follo...Read More
Long out-of-print, Billie Holiday’s brilliant 1956 LP, Velvet Mood, r...Read More
The first full-length album made by the jazz singer, released in the United...Read More
Like a modern day rock star, Holiday’s troubles with drugs, the law, ...Read More
After an impasse in which she mostly recorded with tightly arranged groups ...Read More
This two-disc set features some of Billie Holiday’s top Verve perform...Read More
In 1956 Decca released “The Lady Sings” (DL 8215), a compilation of cla...Read More
The penultimate album completed by the singer and released in her lifetime ...Read More
Songs for Distingué Lovers forms part of the last series of extensive smal...Read More
This session comes from close to the end of the line (1959) in the erstwhil...Read More
In a 1954 review, Down Beat magazine praises the album, saying, “The set ...Read More
The second studio album by jazz singer Billie Holiday, released in 1953. ...Read More
She was fading, but hadn’t lost the dramatic quality in her delivery,...Read More
The overall feeling on this 1955 recording, which was originally titled VEL...Read More
After the success of her album, Lady in Satin (1958), Billie Holiday wanted...Read More
Prez and Lady Day make a perfect match on “I’ll Get By” (...Read More
A deck of wondrously remastered CDs that are sequenced in such a way that t...Read More
This is a rather incredible collection: ten CDs enclosed in a tight black b...Read More
In 1939, Billie Holiday was a jazz sensation without a hit record. She gain...Read More
It is the only album to draw from Holiday’s entire output, across man...Read More
Lady Sings the Blues is the no-holds-barred, if somewhat dramatized autobio...Read More
“Now, finally, we have a definitive biography,” said Booklist o...Read More
Winner! Jazz Journalists Association “2016 Jazz Book of the Year” When ...Read More
The Billie Holiday The Ultimate Collection DVD features rare TV and film pe...Read More
Given the often inextricable relationship between art and suffering, itR...Read More
She had a coat-pocket poodle, a beagle, Chihuahuas, a Great Dane, and more,...Read More
The following is a comprehensive list of Billie Holiday in the printed word, courtesy of writer/broadcaster Ian Clayton.
Billie Holiday with William Dufty, (1956) Lady Sings the Blues; Doubleday.
The notorious autobiography on which the film of the same name is loosely based.
John Szwed, (2016) Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth Paperback; Penguin Books.
Offers a portrait of Lady Day as artist and mythmaker rather than tragic victim.
John Chilton, (1975) Billie’s Blues; Quartet.
Well researched hard facts about Billie’s recording career.
Chris Ingham, (2000) Billie Holiday; Unanimous.
An entry in the “Diva’s” series.
David Margolick, (2000) Strange Fruit; Running Press.
The impact of “Café Society and an early cry for human rights.
Bud Kliment, (1990) Billie Holiday-Singer; Chelsea House.
Black Americans of achievment series.
Leslie Gourse, (1997) Billie Holiday Companion; Schirmer.
Compilation of various, mostly hard to find writings on Billie.
John White, (1987) Billie Holiday; Spellmount.
Larger format book in “Jazz Lifetimes” series.
Leslie Gourse, (1995) Billie Holiday; Franklin Watts.
The tragedy and triumph of Lady Day.
Stuart Nicholson, (1995) Billie Holiday; Victor Gollancz.
A model of biographical writing, much previously unknown material.
Michel Fontanes, (1999) Billie et Paris; Editions Rive Droite.
Thoroughly researched chronicle of Billies time in Paris 1954 and 1958. English translation available.
Marc-Edouard Nabe, (1986) L‘âme de Billie Holiday; L’infini Denoël.
Novel, not published in English.
Farah Jasmin Griffin, (2001) If You Can’t Be Free, Be A Mystery; The Free Press.
A groundbreaking study that confronts the myths.
Robert O’Meally, (1991) Lady Day, The Many Faces of Billie Holiday; Arcade.
Superbly illustrated; scholarly and enlightened.
Donald Clarke, (1994) Wishing On the Moon; Viking Penguin.
A near definite account.
Burnett James, (1984) Billie Holiday; Spellmount/Hippocrene.
Small Format, An introduction in the Jazz Masters series.
Melvin Maddocks, (1979) Billie Holiday (Giants of Jazz); Time Life.
Biography to accompany a Time Life record set.
Ken Vail, (1996) Lady Day’s Diary; Castle.
A month by month Chronology of Lady’s career.
Paola Boncompagni, (1992) Lady Day Life and Songs; Nuovi Equilibri.
Small format book to accompany mini CD from Italy.
Julia Blackburn, (2005) With Billie; Jonathan Cape.
A well constructed book, uses interviews undertaken by Linda Kuehl in the 1970’s.
Magdalena Alagna, (2003) Billie Holiday; Rosen.
An entry in the “rock and roll hall of famers” series, introduction for teenagers.
Alain Gerber, (2005) Lady Day, Histoires d’Amour; Fayard.
A novel about Billie in French.
Danièle Robert, (1995) Les Chants de l’Aube de Lady Day; Le Temps Qu’Il Faut.
A novel about Billie’s life in French.
Sylvia Fol, (2006) Billie Holiday; Folio.
A complete book in French of Billie’s life with several insights on Billie’s ambiguous sexuality.
Gary Giddins, (1992) Faces In the Crowd; Oxford University Press.
A fine collection of essays and criticism.
Eric Hobsbawm, (1998) Uncommon People, Rebellion and Jazz; Wiedenfield and Nicholson.
Includes an obituary of Billie.
Françoise Sagan, (1984) Avec Mon Meilleur Souvenir; Folio.
In english “With Fondest Regards” (1998) Alison and Busby, affectionate and candid tribute.
Angela Y. Davies, (1999) Blues Legacies, Black Feminism; Vintage.
Scholarly research into the sociology of blues and jazz from female standpoint.
Robyn Archer & Diane Symonds, (1986) A Star is Torn; Virago.
An anthology of various women singers, part of a stageshow.
Burnett James, (1964) Essays on Jazz; Jazz Book Club.
An essay called “Billie Holiday and the Art of Communication.”
Bennu Green, (1964) The Reluctant Art; Jazz Book Club.
A forty page essay called “Billie Holiday.”
Martin T. Williams, (1962) The Art of Jazz; Jazz Book Club.
Essay entitled “Billie Holiday” by Glen Coulter.
Martin T. Williams, (1965) Jazz Panorama; Jazz Book Club.
Another essay by Glen Coulter, reviewing Billie records.
Leonard Feather, (1974) From Satchmo to Miles; Stein and Day.
Personal stories from the great jazz writer.
Martin Williams, (1983) The Jazz Tradition; Oxford Univ. Press.
An essay entitled: “Actress without an act.”
Max Jones, (1987) Talking Jazz; McMillan Press.
Adventures involving the writer and Billie on tour in England 1954.
Roy Carr, (1999) Jazz Singers; Hamlyn.
Glossy, large format introduction to jazz vocalists.
Francis Davis, (1990) Outcats; Oxford Univ. Press.
Essays on jazz people including “The Man Who Danced with Billie Holiday.”
Will Friedwald, (1991) Jazz Singing; Quartet.
Superb book, essay called “Lady Day and Lady Time.”
Hettie Jones, (1974) Big Star Fallin’ Mama; Viking.
Warm portraits of five singers including Billie.
Henry Pleasants, (1974) The Great American Popular Singers; Victor Gollancz.
A wonderful survey of vocal art.
Kitty Grime, (1983) Jazz Voices; Quartet.
A patchwork of interviews with jazz people, a chapter about Billie.
Studs Terkel, (1957) Giants of Jazz; The New Press.
A series of beautifully observed portraits, chapter on Billie “God Bless The Child.”
Carol Boston, (2009) Becoming Billie Holiday; Weatherford.
Award-winning poet and professor excellent book—a fictional verse memoir.
John Hammond with Irving Townsend, (1981) John Hammond on Record; Penguin.
Autobiography of the jazz buff and record company man.
Maya Angelou, (1986) The Heart of a Woman; Virago.
Fourth volume of the great black writer’s autobiography.
Jeremy Reed, (1999) Angels Divas and Black Listed Heroes; Peter Owen.
A challenging series of essays by poet and novelist.
Leslie Gourse, (1995) Madame Jazz; Oxford Univ. Press.
The history of women in Jazz.
Sally Placksin, (1985) Jazz Women, 1900 to the Present; Pluto.
Words, lives and music of nearly a century of jazz women.
Leslie Gourse, (1984) Louis’ Children American Jazz Singers; Quill.
A comprehensive overview of the Louis Armstrong legacy.
Harry Shapiro, (1988) Waiting for the Man; Quartet.
Drugs and their links to popular music.
Arnold Shaw, (1977) 52nd Street, The Street of Jazz; Da Capo.
Originally published as “The Street That Never Slept,” a slice of jazz nightlife.
Buck Clayton, (1986) Buck Clayton’s Jazz World; McMillan.
Story of the great trumpeter and Billie accompanist.
Ted Fox, (1985) Show Time at the Apollo; Quartet.
A survey of 50 years of the great Harlem theatre.
William P. Gottleib, (1995) The Golden Age of Jazz; Pomegranate.
A nostalgic look back to the 1930’s and 40’s.
Charles Fox & Valerie Wilmer, (1971) The Jazz Scene; Hamlyn.
A nicely illustrated overview.
Joachim Berendt, (1984) The Jazz Book (Revised Edition); Paladin.
One of the truly great jazz histories.
Geoffrey C. Ward & Ken Burns, (2000) Jazz, A History of America’s Music; Pimlico.
Excellent research, beautifully illustrated tie in to TV series.
Teddy Wilson, A. Lightart, H. Van Loo, (1996) Teddy Wilson Talks Jazz; Cassell.
A candid account account of Wilson’s life and career.
Arnold Shaw, (1986) Black Popular Music in America; Schirmer.
Comprehensive and well researched.
John Chilton, (1979) Jazz; Hodder and Stoughton.
Intro to history and practice of jazz music, best of this type.
Whitney Balliet, (1964) Dinosaurs in the Morning; J. Dent.
Essays by the New York Times Jazz critic.
Stanley Dance, (1974) The World of Swing; Scribners.
A chronicle of the big band era.
Philip Larkin, (1970) All What Jazz; Faber.
Criticism and record reviews by famous English poet.
Cynthia Palmer & Michael Horowitz, (2000) Sisters of the Extreme; Park St. Press.
Women writing about their drug experience.
Alice Adams, (1984) Listening to Billie; Penguin.
A beautiful novel that starts in a 1950’s Manhattan night- club.
John Wieners, (1996) 707 Scott St.; Sun and Moon.
Poetry and prose dedicated to Billie.
Anne Grifalconi, (1999) Tinny’s Hat; Harper Collins.
For children, a young girl wears her musician father’s hat.
Robert Somma, (1973) No One Waved Goodbye; Charisma.
Includes the poem “The Day Lady Day Died (Lunch Poems 1963).
Alexis De Veaux, (1988) Don’t Explain; Writers and Readers.
A prose poem in tribute to Billie.
Carlos Sampayo & Jose Munoz, (1993) Billie Holiday; Fantagraphics Books.
Imaginative stuff, a graphic novel.
Elisabeth Hardwick, (1979) Sleepless Nights; Random House.
A stunning novel, taking in memory, affection and Billie Holiday in Harlem.
Jeremy Reed, (2001) Saint Billie; Enitharmon Press.
An anthology that captures the drama of Billie’s life and the jazz age.
Billie is of course mentioned in every reference work on jazz. Following are strongly recommended.
Leonard Feather, (1960) The Encyclopeadia of Jazz; Arthur Baker.
One of the first in the field and still very reliable.
John Chilton, (1970) Who’s Who of Jazz; Bloomsbury.
David Meeker, (1981) Jazz in the Movies; Talisman.
Indispensable guide to jazz on film, includes all of Billie appearances plus TV.
John Fordham, (1993) Jazz; Dorling Kindersley.
History, instruments, musicians, recordings, a connoisseur’s book.
Ian Carr, D. Fairweather, B. Priestlet, (1987) Jazz Essential Companion; Grafton.
Homage to jazz musicians everywhere.
Richard Cook, Brian Morton, (1992) Pengin Guide to Jazz on CD, LP and Cassette; Penguin.
Definitive reference work with criticism of all available recordings.
Roy Carr, (1998) A Century of Jazz; Hamlyn.
Beautifully illustrated celebration of jazz history.
Brian Case, S. Britt, C. Murray, (1986) Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz; Salamender.
For the buff or the new fan.
Barry MaCraae, (1987) The Jazz Handbook; Longman.
Practical, easy to use and insightful.
Jorgen Grunnet Jepsen, (1969) Discography of Billie Holiday; Knudsen (Denmark).
Small, home published discography.
Jack Millar, (1979) Born to Swing; JazzMedia (Denmark).
A model for all discographical writing. Updated by Jack Millar until his death in 1999.
Billie Holiday was a true artist of her day and rose as a social phenomenon in the 1950s. Her soulful, unique singing voice and her ability to boldly turn any material that she confronted into her own music made her a superstar of her time. Today, Holiday is remembered for her masterpieces, creativity and vivacity, as many of Holiday’s songs are as well known today as they were decades ago. Holiday’s poignant voice is still considered to be one of the greatest jazz voices of all time.
Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan) grew up in jazz talent-rich Baltimore in the 1920s. As a young teenager, Holiday served the beginning part of her so-called “apprenticeship” by singing along with records by Bessie Smith or Louis Armstrong in after-hours jazz clubs. When Holiday’s mother, Sadie Fagan, moved to New York in search of a better job, Billie eventually went with her. She made her true singing debut in obscure Harlem nightclubs and borrowed her professional name – Billie Holiday – from screen star Billie Dove. Although she never underwent any technical training and never even so much as learned how to read music, Holiday quickly became an active participant in what was then one of the most vibrant jazz scenes in the country. She would move from one club to another, working for tips. She would sometimes sing with the accompaniment of a house piano player while other times she would work as part of a group of performers.
At the age of 18 and after gaining more experience than most adult musicians can claim, Holiday was spotted by John Hammond and cut her first record as part of a studio group led by Benny Goodman, who was then just on the verge of public prominence. In 1935 Holiday’s career got a big push when she recorded four sides that went on to become hits, including “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” and “Miss Brown to You.” This landed her a recording contract of her own, and then, until 1942, she recorded a number of master tracks that would ultimately become an important building block of early American jazz music.
Holiday began working with Lester Young in 1936, who pegged her with her now-famous nickname of “Lady Day.” When Holiday joined Count Basie in 1937 and then Artie Shaw in 1938, she became one of the very first black women to work with a white orchestra, an impressive accomplishment of her time.
In the 1930s, when Holiday was working with Columbia Records, she was first introduced to the poem “Strange Fruit,” an emotional piece about the lynching of a black man. Though Columbia would not allow her to record the piece due to subject matter, Holiday went on to record the song with an alternate label, Commodore, and the song eventually became one of Holiday’s classics. It was “Strange Fruit” that eventually prompted Lady Day to continue more of her signature, moving ballads.
Holiday recorded about 100 new recordings on another label, Verve, from 1952 to 1959. Her voice became more rugged and vulnerable on these tracks than earlier in her career. During this period, she toured Europe, and made her final studio recordings for the MGM label in March of 1959.
Despite her lack of technical training, Holiday’s unique diction, inimitable phrasing and acute dramatic intensity made her the outstanding jazz singer of her day. White gardenias, worn in her hair, became her trademark. “Singing songs like the ‘The Man I Love’ or ‘Porgy’ is no more work than sitting down and eating Chinese roast duck, and I love roast duck,” she wrote in her autobiography. “I’ve lived songs like that.”
Billie Holiday, a musical legend still popular today, died an untimely death at the age of 44. Her emotive voice, innovative techniques and touching songs will forever be remembered and enjoyed.
– April 7, Born in Philadelphia, Penn.
– Holiday appears in various Harlem clubs with singer Laurence Jackson
– Holiday cuts her first records at the age of 18
– Discovered by talent agent John Hammond
– Hammond organizes her first commercial recording session with Benny Goodman
– Signed to Brunswick Records by John Hammond
– Begins collaborations with Teddy Wilson
– Stars alongside Duke Ellington in the film “Symphony in Black”
– Releases “Summertime” from “Porgy and Bess”
– Receives the nickname “Lady Day” from sax player Lester Young
– She teams with the Count Basie Orchestra
– She teams with Artie Shaw becoming the first black woman to work with a white orchestra
– Debut performance of “Strange Fruit” at Café Society, New York’s first integrated nightclub
– Records her first major session at Commodore
– Billie co-writes and records the legendary “God Bless The Child”
– Holiday signs with Decca Records
– “Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be)”, written specifically for Billie, becomes her highest charted Pop hit to date, peaking at #16.
– Billie Holiday writes and records “Don’t Explain”
– Esquire Magazine Gold Award for Best Leading Female Vocalist
– Esquire Magazine Silver Award for Best Leading Female Vocalist
– Esquire Magazine Silver Award for Best Leading Female Vocalist
– Headlines New York’s Town Hall
– Esquire Magazine Gold Award for Best Leading Female Vocalist
– Appears in the UA film “New Orleans” along side Louis Armstrong
– Performs at Carnegie Hall to a sold out crowd
– The Broadway show “Holiday on Broadway” begins a three week run
– “Crazy He Calls Me” single is released
– Appears in the short film “Sugar Chile Robinson, Billie Holiday, Count Basie and His Sextet”
– Her first two long play studio albums are released for Norman Granz’s Clef Records, “Billie Holiday Sings” and “An Evening with Billie Holiday”
– Appears on the ABC reality series “The Comeback Story”
– Billie releases her next full length album, “Billie Holiday”, for Clef Records
– She tours Europe
– Her full length album, “Music for Torching”, is released for Clef Records
– Make her first appearance on The Tonight Show, hosted by Steve Allen
– Her “Velvet Mood: Songs By Billie Holiday” album is released
– “Lady Sings The Blues” marks the last album for Clef Records
– Her autobiography, “Lady Sings The Blues”, is published by Doubleday
– Performs two sold shows at Carnegie Hall
– Her “Body and Soul” and “Songs For Distingue Lovers” full length albums are released on Norman Granz’s new Verve Records
– Norman Granz releases his last records with Billie, “Stay With Me” and “All or Nothing At All”
– Working with the Ray Ellis Orchestra, Billie makes her album debut on Columbia Records with “Lady In Satin”
– Holiday completes her final album, “Billie Holiday”, retitled “Last Recordings” with MGM
– Holiday gives her final performance in New York City.
– July 17, Holiday dies in New York City and is buried at Saint Raymond’s Cemetery in Bronx County, NY.
– Live recordings from her last Carnegie Hall appearance are released as “The Essential Billie Holiday”
– Nina Simone records her version of “Strange Fruit”
– Diana Ross stars as Holiday in the film “Lady Sings the Blues”
– “God Bless The Child” single inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame
– “Strange Fruit” single inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame
– “Billie Holiday – Giants of Jazz” wins a Grammy Award for Best Historical Album
– The city of Baltimore honors Billie Holiday with her first statue
– Billie Holiday is posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
– U2 releases the Billie Holiday tribute song “Angel of Harlem”
– “Love Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)” single inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame
– Miki Howard stars as Billie Holiday in a club scene in “Malcolm X”
– “Billie Holiday – The Complete Decca Recordings” wins a Grammy Award for Best Historical Album
– Etta James receives first Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for her “Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday” album
– “The Complete Billie Holiday” wins a Grammy Award for Best Historical Album
– On September 18, 1994, the United States Postal Service honored Holiday by introducing a USPS-sponsored stamp
– Inducted into the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame
– Ranked #6 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Women In Rock n’ Roll”
– Time Magazine declares “Strange Fruit” the Song of the Century
– Billie Holiday is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the fifteenth annual induction dinner. Diana Ross is her presenter.
– “Lady In Satin” album inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame
– “Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday” wins a Grammy Award for Best Historical Album
– “Strange Fruit” honored by the Library of Congress as one of the 50 songs that year to be added to the National Recording Registry
– Billie Holiday is inducted into the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame
– “Embraceable You” single inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame
– “Crazy He Calls Me” single inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame
– Billie Holiday inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
– Kanye West samples Nina Simone’s version of “Strange Fruit”
– “Lady Day The Musical” opens for preview performances at Times Square’s Little Shubert Theatre starring multiple-Grammy Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater
– April 6th, Billie is inducted into The Apollo Theater’s Walk of Fame. Two-time Grammy winner Cassandra Wilson presents the plaque as Lady Day joins other legends including Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown and Louis Armstrong.
– June 15: Author John Szwed wins Jazz Journalists Association “2016 Jazz Book of the Year” for Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth (Viking/Penguin Publishing Company)
In addition to her music, Billie Holiday left behind memorable quotes that still resonate today. Click here to see them all and easily share them with your friends.
Here are more sites dedicated to Bille Holiday, lovingly compiled with a vast wealth of information that applies to her life. We thank them for their devotion (and for their great taste in music too).
Sony Legacy Recordings
Verve Music Group
Billie Holiday Songs – A site dedicated to Billie Holiday’s Songs and Discography
Billie Holiday Discography
The Unofficial Billie Holiday Website
SoulWalking’s Billie Holiday Page
Billie Holiday For Ever
This site is maintained by the Estate of Billie Holiday. Please submit questions or licensing requests for the commercial use of her image and likeness via the email links below.