Billie Holiday (1915–1959)

Born:

7th April 1915 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Billie Holiday’s grave in New York

Died:

17th July 1959 in New York, New York, USA.

Buried:

Saint Raymonds Cemetery, The Bronx, New York, New York, USA.

Some famous singles:
  • Strange Fruit.
  • God Bless the Child.
  • Body and Soul.
  • Lover Man.
  • My Man. (See below for a video.)
  • Plus many more!
Some great recordings:
  • Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia (1933-1944).
  • The Complete Original American Decca Recordings (1944-1950).
  • The Complete Billie Holiday on Verve (1945–1949).
  • Lady in Satin (1958).
Some interesting facts:
  • She was one of the greatest female jazz singers who has ever lived!
  • She had no proper musical training at all!
  • She was nicknamed ‘Lady Day’.
  • Her singing has had a big influence on singers of popular music as well as jazz.
  • She put a lot of emotion into her singing.
  • She could make even the most ordinary song sound exciting!
  • She made her first recordings with Benny Goodman.
  • She also recorded with Louis Armstrong. (See below for a video.)
  • She had a very difficult childhood, but not much is known about it. Nobody’s even sure who her father was! However she chose her surname to be that of the man most likely to be her father, Clarence Holiday.
  • She also had a very difficult life as a adult. She was treated badly by many men.
  • She was quite ill in the last years of her life. Because of this her voice didn’t sound as good as it once had. However, her late recordings are still great because she put so much more emotion into her singing.
  • Unfortunately she was in trouble with the police a lot. In fact she was arrested as she lay dying in hospital.
Official Website

Here is a video of Billie Holiday singing The Blues are Brewin’ (with Louis Armstrong on the trumpet).

Billie Holliday singing ‘The Blues are Brewin”

And here is a video of Billie Holiday singing My Man.

Billie Holiday singing ‘My Man’

Picture credits:
  1. Billie Holiday. This photograph is of Billie Holiday at a court hearing in Los Angeles, California in 1949. The image is in the public domain. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
  2. Billie Holiday’s grave in New York. This photograph was taken by Elliot. I have obtained permission to use the image here. Click here for the source of this image.
Video credits:
  1. Billie Holiday – The Blues Are Brewin’.The person who posted this on YouTube writes: A fine video where Lady Day and Satchmo show the world why they came for…
  2. Billie Holiday, My Man. The person who posted this on YouTube writes: On of the best interpretations of Billie with Jimmy Rowles, and in very high quality, ….. take a look.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah 13th March 2011

I want to say that this page masters Billie Holiday’s total life in a brief way that children can understand and use in any report (work cited of course).

Jennifer Luciano 4th May 2011

I think she really was who I read about , but I’m mad that she stood in abusive relationships and had some drug abuse too . :( besides that I wish she would still alive , so I could meet her . :)

aayah 7th December 2011

Billie started liking music when her grandma passed away. She went to a club and they said she could sing there and that is how it started the life of Billie. She breaks my heart, a very kind and pretty women and took drug, never meet her dad and mom, and died same as dad grandma died. She makes you want to cry. I love her, I want to cry, I just love her sing with her, play with her, sing like a bird in you yard. I love her

Natalie 19th February 2012

Thanks for the facts about Billie Holiday

Destiny 21st February 2012

thx for giving me information about billie holiday for my project

joey 21st March 2012

your so kind for doing this ,it is just so nice to know that some people care.

Sasha 31st October 2012

thanks for the infomation it really helped with my homework!

Brooke 18th September 2013

I don’t really know much about Billie Holiday, however I need to for a project :/ anyway, although the facts were good, I need more, more and even more! The facts weren’t really good enough! I need it to be more complex, but thanks anyway :D x

Jack 13th November 2013

This is so interesting she has a amazing voice this generation don’t understand real music.

Nick Jadenson 3rd December 2013

Wow I can truely say that Bilie Holiday is someone we can all learn from.

Ashlyn 24th January 2014

I thank you for the help. :)

mia 4th February 2014

its so beautiful

diamond 19th February 2014

i love the blues are brewin its so peace full

diamond 26th February 2014

i love her music its so peaceful .

nasirah 8th May 2014

this lady was so great and i give a great thank you to u for letting these lady and men and chance to show they self

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