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Artist: Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

Bio

Billie Holiday (Eleanora Fagan Gough, Philadelphia, PA, April 7, 1915 – New York City, NY, July 17, 1959) was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed Lady Day by her loyal friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday was a highly original influence on jazz and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. Above all, she was admired for her deeply personal and intimate approach to singing. She co-wrote only a few songs, but several of them have become jazz standards, notably "God Bless the Child," "Don't Explain," and "Lady Sings the Blues." She also became famous for singing jazz standards written by others, including "Easy Living" and "Strange Fruit." Music critic Robert Christgau called her "uncoverable, possibly the greatest singer of the century". Critic John Bush wrote that she "changed the art of American pop vocals forever." Billie Holiday had a difficult childhood, which greatly affected her life and career. Not much is known about the true details of her early life, though stories of it appeared in her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, first published in 1956 and later revealed to contain many inaccuracies. Her professional pseudonym was taken from Billie Dove, an actress she admired, and Clarence Holiday, her probable father. At the outset of her career, she spelled her last name "Halliday", presumably to distance herself from her neglectful father, but eventually changed it back to "Holiday". There is some controversy regarding Holiday's paternity, stemming from a copy of her birth certificate in the Baltimore archives that lists the father as a "Frank DeViese". Some historians consider this an anomaly, probably inserted by a hospital or government worker. Thrown out of her parents' home in Baltimore after becoming pregnant at thirteen, Billie's mother, Sadie Fagan, moved to Philadelphia where Billie was born. Mother and child eventually settled in a poor section of Baltimore. Her parents married when she was three, but they soon divorced, leaving her to be raised largely by her mother and other relatives. At the age of 10, she reported that she had been raped. That claim, combined with her frequent truancy, resulted in her being sent to The House of the Good Shepherd
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Top Albums

All Of Me cover art

All Of Me

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Solitude cover art

Solitude

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Don't Explain cover art

Don't Explain

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Billie Holiday

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Top Songs

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Strange Fruit

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God Bless The Child

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All Of Me cover art

All Of Me

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Easy Living cover art

Easy Living

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I'll Be Seeing You cover art

I'll Be Seeing You

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Summertime

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Recommended Songs

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Fever by Peggy Lee

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