Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Billie Holiday






Born today in 1915 the Amercian jazz singer known as 'Lady Day'.

Billie Holiday was one of the most influential but tragic singers in Jazz. After an insecure childhood she was jailed for prostitution while a teenager. In the early 1930s, however, she was working as a singer in new York clubs and her wistful voice and remarkable jazz interpretations of popular songs led to work with Benny Goodman and recording sessions with such leading soloists as Teddy Wilson and Lester Young.

By the late 1930s she was working with the big bands of Count Basie and Artie Shaw. During the 1940s she appeared in several films (including 'New Orleans' with Louis Armstrong) but by the end of that decade she was falling victim to drug addiction.

She wrote her autobiography 'Lady Sings the Blues' in 1956 with ghost writer William Dufty. A film of the same name starring Diana Ross as Holiday was released in 1972.

Many, including jazz afficionados, now regard Billie Holiday as being the greatest female singer in jazz.





Also born today - English romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770), film director Francis Ford Coppola (1939), and actor Russell Crowe (1964).

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