Billie Holiday: A Biography by Meg Greene

By Meg Greene

Billie vacation (1915-1959), the mythical jazz singer whose vocal stylings have been deeply affecting, maintains to enthrall. This biography conveys her hard-luck early life, occupation triumphs, after which decline and early dying. At age 14, regardless of growing to be up with an absentee musician father, little education, a rape at 10, and penal complex time for prostitution, this remarkable lady moved to manhattan urban to discover paintings as a dancer or singer. She quickly turned the toast of Harlem and went directly to journey and checklist with the most important names in jazz.

Holiday's profession took off within the Thirties, in the course of the melancholy, and the biography inspires the period and surroundings of the jazz membership scene. The country of race family members within the nation is mentioned as vacation excursions with white bandleaders corresponding to Artie Shaw or even as she sings approximately lynching within the arguable unusual Fruit. The narrative additional chronicles Holiday's relationships, descent into drug habit, the following diminishment of her expertise, and tragic early loss of life. Readers at the present time will then are looking to search out Holiday's recordings to extra totally relish her interpretations of the songs of that vintage era.

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Extra resources for Billie Holiday: A Biography

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SPAGHETTI WITH A SONG Despite his growing celebrity, Ralph Cooper missed leading the Kongo Knights. By the end of March 1935, he was busy assembling another band that included some of the best talent available, such as saxophonists Louis Jordan and Emmett Mathews. Cooper’s stature enabled him to schedule the band’s debut at the Apollo in April. Even before the first performance, “Ralph Cooper with his 18 Kings of Melody” was a sensation. Just days before the Kings of Melody were to appear on the Apollo stage, Cooper dined at one of his favorite restaurants, the Hot-Cha, where he ordered spaghetti.

Hers was a carefully crafted and sophisticated performance, especially for a woman only 19 years old. This carefully woven tapestry of life and music was the origin of the persona that audiences came to identify with Billie. Other singers such as Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland may have more successfully established and cultivated an image, but Billie Holiday did it first. NOTES 1. John Hammond and Irving Townsend, John Hammond on Record (London: Penguin, 1981), p. 92. 2. Donald Clarke, Wishing on the Moon: The Life and Times of Billie Holiday (New York: Viking, 1994), p.

With Teddy Wilson, Holiday recorded some 100 songs that today are considered among her most significant work. By 1936, Billie’s recordings enjoyed a modest success, selling steadily, if not spectacularly, both in the United States and in Europe. Sales were encouraging enough that American Record Company decided to record Holiday again. At this point, Holiday cared little whether she received royalties; more important was having her name featured on the label. To help her with the upcoming studio sessions, John Hammond brought in a new producer, a young Harvard-educated man from Nebraska, Bernie Hanighen.

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