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Billie Holiday Sings the Blues - Songs of her Life
Many Faces of Billie
Lady Does Sing the Blues
Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915 and eventually made her mark as a legendary blues/jazz singer and songwriter. Known for the elegant Gardenia perched over one ear, her entire life was plagued with pain and addiction, which makes it hard to know what came first, her struggles as a young African American woman breaking into the early 1900s music scene or the devastation of her addiction to heroin. Her pain however, had a huge impact on her talent - Many of the songs she is famous for like "Strange Fruit" and "My Man" portrait intolerable predjudiced and abuse which today seem unimaginable but were indeed a huge part of her life and perhaps what shaped this incredibly talented woman's music.
Like many people, I was not aware of Billie Holiday saga until Diana Ross played her in the movie "Lady Sings the Blues". I still have the album and so many of her songs "Don't ExplaIn", "God Bless the Child" which were written by Billie herself, still bring tears to my eyes. A brave, gifted and tortured soul, Billie Holiday is my inspiration and my sadness for all that is wrong with the world - then and now. I prefer to remember her strength, talent and ability to survive in a world that just was not quite ready for her, paving the way for so many more to come.
Did you Know?
- The U2 song Angel of Harlem paid tribute to Holiday.
- On September 18, 1994, the United States Postal Service honored Holiday by introducing a USPS-sponsored stamp.
- Her early band was organized by pianist Teddy Wilson.
- She was discovered by John Hammond
- A statue of Holiday still stands today at the corner of Lafayette and Pennsylvania Avenues in Baltimore.