Billie Holiday

~ Person

Legal name: Eleanora Fagan


Eleanora Fagan (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), professionally known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz musician and singer-songwriter with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. Holiday was known for her vocal delivery and improvisation skills, which made up for her limited range and lack of formal music education.

After a turbulent childhood, Holiday began singing in nightclubs around Harlem. After being heard by producer John Hammond, who commended her voice, Holiday was signed to Brunswick Records in 1935. Collaborations with Teddy Wilson yielded the hit "What a Little Moonlight Can Do", which would later become a jazz standard. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Holiday booked mainstream success with labels such as Columbia Records and Decca Records. By the late 1940s, however, Holiday was beset with legal troubles and drug abuse. After a short prison sentence, Holiday performed a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall. However, due to her drug and alcohol problems, her reputation deteriorated.

Though she was a successful concert performer throughout the 1950s with two further sold-out shows at Carnegie Hall, Holiday's bad health, coupled with a string of abusive relationships and ongoing drug and alcohol abuse, caused her voice to wither. Her final recordings were met with mixed reaction to her damaged voice, but were mild commercial successes. Her final album, Lady in Satin, was released in 1958. Holiday died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1959. A posthumous album, Last Recordings, was released following her death.

Much of Holiday's material has been rereleased since her death, and she is considered a legendary performer with an ongoing influence on American music. Holiday is the recipient of four Grammy awards, all of them posthumous awards for Best Historical Album. Furthermore, Holiday herself was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1973. Lady Sings the Blues, a film centered on Holiday's life, starring Diana Ross, was released in 1972.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1958 The Sound of Jazz Various Artists 5 2
1978 Great Vocalists of the Big Band Era Various Artists 1
1989 Jazz Club Vocal Various Artists 2 1
1989 Welcome to the Club Various Artists 1
1990 C'est si bon Louis Armstrong 3
1992 Divas of Jazz Various Artists 1
1992 Sentimental Journey Various Artists 1
1995 Swing Out Sisters Various Artists 1
1996 Best of the Blues Various Artists 1
1997 On Holiday Tony Bennett 1
1997 Ross Porter's After Hours With Verve Various Artists 1
1997 the ladies of jazz & blues Various Artists 1
1998 George Gershwin: 'S Wonderful - The Great Decca Songbook Various Artists 1
1998 A Century of Glory George Gershwin 1
2000 Great Women of Song Various Artists 1
2001 Voices of the Century Various Artists 1
2001 Jazz Masters (Legendary Archive & Live Recordings) Various Artists 1
2001 The Saxophone Player Gerry Mulligan 1
2002 Make Time for Love Various Artists 1
2002 Classic Jazz: Jazz for Lovers Various Artists 1
2004 Stray Cats Ball: No Dogs Allowed Various Artists 1
2005 Another Great Tomato Blues Package Various Artists 1
2005 Ladies in Love Various Artists 1
2006 Claude Challe Presents Just Good Music Selected by Jean-Marc Challe Claude Challe 1
2006 The Ultimate Vocal Collection (The Ladies) Various Artists 1
2007 The Golden Years of Jazz Volume 9 Various Artists 1
2007 Jazz Divas: Gold Various Artists 1
2007 Great American Romantic Standards - I'm All For You Various Artists 1
2008 Jazz for Lovers, Volume 01 Various Artists 1
2009 Uncut: London Pride - 15 Capital Music Moments Various Artists 1
2009 Riceboy Sleeps Jónsi & Alex 2.5 8
2011 Bar Jazz Various Artists 1
2011 Great Ladies of Jazz Various Artists 1
2011 Jazz Divas, The Very Best Of Various Artists 1
2011 Lady Jazz [Disc 1] Various Artists 1
2012 Essential Christmas: Original Hits By The Original Artists Various Artists 1
2012 Winter Wonderland Various Artists 1
2013 The Best Versions of Summer Time Various Artists 1
2013 La noche más larga Buika 2
2013 American Jazz Standards Various Artists 1
2015 Mo' Electro Swing Republic Swing Republic 1
25 Blues 'N' Soul Greats Volume 3 Various Artists 1
50's Here's to the Ladies Various Artists 1
American Songbook Series: Frank Loesser Various Artists 1
Capital Gold Jazz Legends Various Artists 1
Dinner Party Jazz Various Artists 1
Jazz Legends Various Artists 1
Solid Gone Blues Various Artists 1
Soul Sensations Various Artists 1
That's Amore Various Artists 1

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