Artist picture of Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

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Artist's top tracks

I'm a Fool to Want You Billie Holiday 03:23
You've Changed Billie Holiday 03:18
I'm a Fool to Want You Billie Holiday 03:23
All of Me Billie Holiday 03:06
Autumn In New York Billie Holiday 03:44
Ill Be Seeing You Billie Holiday 03:37
Willow Weep For Me Billie Holiday 03:07
Blue Moon Billie Holiday 03:28
Gloomy Sunday Billie Holiday 03:14
I Cried for You (with Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra) Billie Holiday 03:11

Most popular release

I'm a Fool to Want You
For Heaven's Sake
You Don't Know What Love Is
I Get Along Without You Very Well

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Biography

A tragic figure with an unhappy life, Billie Holiday had a rare ability to translate her pain and heartache into music to touch audiences in a uniquely emotional fashion. Her absentee father Clarence Holiday was a jazz musician, but she had a troubled upbringing, involving petty crime and spells at reform school, was reputedly raped at 11 and lived in a brothel with her mother, a Harlem prostitute. Inspired by Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith, Holiday teamed up with a sax player, changed her name from Eleanora to Billie - after actress Billie Dove - and sang in local clubs, where she was discovered by record producer John Hammond. She made her first recordings at 18 singing with Benny Goodman, and had her first hit with Riffin' The Scotch. More recordings - notably What A Little Moonlight Can Do - enhanced her reputation during the 1930s as she developed an improvised swing vocal style. Sax player Lester Young dubbed her Lady Day and the name stuck as she worked with many of the most famous big bands of the day, including Count Basie and Artie Shaw. She recorded her most famous track Strange Fruit in 1939, a heartbreaking song about a lynching of blacks in the south, and other big hits followed; including God Bless The Child, Lover Man, That Ole Devil Called Love and Good Morning Heartache. In 1946 Holiday appeared in the movie New Orleans with Louis Armstrong and Woody Herman, but her life was already falling apart due to drug addiction. Spells in prison were followed by more drug and alcohol problems and a series of disastrous relationships, and she died in 1959. In 1972 Diana Ross starred as Holiday in a movie of her life, Lady Sings The Blues.