Women Music March 2021 – Day 25 – Billie Holiday

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/00/Billie_Holiday_1947_%28cropped%29.jpg/646px-Billie_Holiday_1947_%28cropped%29.jpg
Billie Holiday

Eleanora Fagan (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), known professionally as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz and swing music singer. Nicknamed “Lady Day” by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had an innovative influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills.

After a turbulent childhood, Holiday began singing in nightclubs in Harlem, where she was heard by producer John Hammond, who commended her voice. She signed a recording contract with Brunswick in 1935. Collaborations with Teddy Wilson yielded the hit “What a Little Moonlight Can Do”, which became a jazz standard. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Holiday had mainstream success on labels such as Columbia and Decca. By the late 1940s, however, she was beset with legal troubles and drug abuse. After a short prison sentence, she performed at a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, but her reputation deteriorated because of her drug and alcohol problems.

She was a successful concert performer throughout the 1950s with two further sold-out shows at Carnegie Hall. Her final album, Lady in Satin, was released in 1958. Holiday died on July 17, 1959 at age 44. She won four Grammy Awards, all of them posthumously, for Best Historical Album. She was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame. Several films about her life have been released.

Discography:
Studio: 14 albums from 1952 – 1959
Live: 6 albums from 1954 – 1971
Compilation: 24 albums from 1946 – 1993
Box sets: 6 from 1985 – 2009

Source:  wikipedia

One thing to share: I decided to share this excellent youtube podcast.

 

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for this MS. My father had an extensive record collection of over 2,000 albums. Catalogued. Tagged. Filed appropriately. Billie Halliday was at the top of his jazz section. I remember listening to her sing as a young girl and wishing I could sing like that. So much power and yet also so much trauma — yet, even through her dark times, her voice never faltered. thanks for the memory walk!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Oh wow, Louise, it sounds like you hit the listening jackpot with a parent with that kind of collection. I’m visualizing you and your dad sitting in a room each in a velveteen stuffed chair, eyes closed, listening to Billie sing…

      Hoping the collection is still intact!

      Like

  2. Liam says:

    She left the world way too young, but she left behind such a great gift.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, she did.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. hanspostcard says:

    what a great talent and what a tragic life. I just knew you would feature her before the month was up. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Hans. I really liked hearing the podcast as it had so many details. I had no idea that the FBI guy was after her because when Prohibition ended he needed something to stay busy with and picked black jazz musicians. SICKENING!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, what a tragic background story. I had not been aware of it. I also listened to the podcast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Christian, it’s a miracle some people survive childhood. I wonder if what is stated in the podcast is true? If it is, the FBI effectively killed her.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, it’s hard to believe. Essentially, it mirror’s Wikipedia’s narrative about Billie Holiday, citing the following Politico story: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/01/drug-war-the-hunting-of-billie-holiday-114298

        It sounds like Anslinger was a vicious racist nutcase! Granted, times were different in the late 1950s, but that still is no excuse for his notorius actions.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Christian, this politico article sounds almost *identical* to what is being said in the podcast. Hmmm. Doesn’t mean it isn’t true, but maybe this is the source of the info in the podcast? Yes, those memos are off the hook! The way Billie singing out against lynching set a bullseye on her back. She had the courage not to stop singing the song. She is a hero in my book, with all she went through and how she stood strong.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Definitely, she was a courageous woman!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    I used to listen to her and Bessie Smith back to back. I love their voices. What a sad sad life Billie had. She will always be remembered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I see too many creative spirits get taken over by serious substance abuse. It’s like they burn so brightly that darkness dedicates itself to taking them down.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

        I don’t know if part of it is the rush of the crowd and power they have on stage and then suddenly they are at home taking out the trash….but it seems most creative people have some sort of mental problem…I don’t mean that in a bad way but many I’ve read about do. It’s an interesting and sad subject.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. She is one of my top singers period. I am a huge fan. Her understated delivery suits my ear. I love her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Nice way of describing her voice, CB.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love her TT. Her and Lester Young together. What a couple of tragic lives but what a couple of talented people.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Have you seen Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker yet? I’m guessing you’re a fan of Chet’s music?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. No I havent seen the film and yes I’m a fan of Bakers. Good doc on him ‘Lets Get Lost” kinda depressing though. Another messed up life.

            Liked by 1 person

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