Billie Holiday
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/960x540/p01bqlc9.jpg
1915-04-07
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/d59c4cda-11d9-48db-8bfe-b557ee602aed
Billie Holiday

Biography

Few singers in jazz history had the ability to inject as much emotion into a song as Billie Holiday. From her subtle changes in the melody and timing of a piece to her ability to inject sorrow, heartache, and also ...

Read more


Biography

Few singers in jazz history had the ability to inject as much emotion into a song as Billie Holiday. From her subtle changes in the melody and timing of a piece to her ability to inject sorrow, heartache, and also joy and enthusiasm into a lyric, she brought a unique, personal interpretation to dozens of songs.

She also co-wrote some numbers, including Fine and Mellow and God Bless the Child, and she made headlines singing Strange Fruit, a protest song about a Southern lynching. One reason she was capable of such intense experession in her singing was the sorrow and hardship of her own life.

Growing up on the poverty line in a single parent family, she had experienced abuse and prostitution by her mid-teens. At eighteen she was singing in New York, when entrepreneur John Hammond encouraged her to record with Benny Goodman. She went on to make dozens of small band discs, the majority with pianist Teddy Wilson, which are small miracles of the swing era.

She sang at Barney Josephson's Cafe Society club in Greenwich Village, and specialised in haunting ballads. Although she fronted both Count Basie's and Artis Shaw's big bands for short period, she was at her best with just a rhythm section. From the early 1940s her life was a constant battle with drug addiction, plus a series of tempestuous relationships with her husbands or long-term male partners.

By the 1950s, her voice could sound careworn and world-weary, but she maintained the ability to project raw emotion, right up to the end of her short life. Musically, she formed a particularly successful partnership with tenorist Lester Young and their recordings together show the strong empathy between them.

Billie Holiday Audio & Video


Billie Holiday Tracks

Sort by

Billie Holiday
The Way You Look Tonight
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
The Way You Look Tonight
Billie Holiday
Gimme A Pigfoot
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
Gimme A Pigfoot
Billie Holiday
Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do
Billie Holiday
Strange Fruit
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
Strange Fruit
Billie Holiday
Georgia On My Mind
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
Georgia On My Mind
Billie Holiday
Sometimes I'm Happy
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
Sometimes I'm Happy
Billie Holiday
What A Little Moonlight Can Do
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
What A Little Moonlight Can Do
Billie Holiday
Time On My Hands
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
Time On My Hands
Billie Holiday
God Bless The Child
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
God Bless The Child
Billie Holiday
I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues
Billie Holiday
What A Little Moonlight Can Do
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
What A Little Moonlight Can Do
Billie Holiday
Don't Worry 'Bout Me
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
Don't Worry 'Bout Me
Billie Holiday
The Man I love
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/0.1.70/img/track_fallback.png
link
The Man I love
Billie Holiday
I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
Billie Holiday
Stormy Weather
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
Stormy Weather
Billie Holiday
Good Morning Heartache
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
Good Morning Heartache
Billie Holiday
I'm A Fool To Want You
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
I'm A Fool To Want You
Billie Holiday
Lover, Come Back To Me
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
Lover, Come Back To Me
Billie Holiday
All The Way
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
All The Way
Billie Holiday
Rock Around The Clock
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlc9.jpg
link
Rock Around The Clock
Add music you love and enjoy it
Playlists featuring Billie Holiday
Greatest Jazz Artists
Greatest Jazz Artists
Live Lounge Month: Inspirations 2015
Live Lounge Month: Inspirations 2015
Music With 'The Tingle Factor'
Music With 'The Tingle Factor'
The Voice UK 2015
The Voice UK 2015

Latest Billie Holiday News


Billie Holiday Biography

Few singers in jazz history had the ability to inject as much emotion into a song as Billie Holiday. From her subtle changes in the melody and timing of a piece to her ability to inject sorrow, heartache, and also joy and enthusiasm into a lyric, she brought a unique, personal interpretation to dozens of songs.

She also co-wrote some numbers, including Fine and Mellow and God Bless the Child, and she made headlines singing Strange Fruit, a protest song about a Southern lynching. One reason she was capable of such intense experession in her singing was the sorrow and hardship of her own life.

Growing up on the poverty line in a single parent family, she had experienced abuse and prostitution by her mid-teens. At eighteen she was singing in New York, when entrepreneur John Hammond encouraged her to record with Benny Goodman. She went on to make dozens of small band discs, the majority with pianist Teddy Wilson, which are small miracles of the swing era.

She sang at Barney Josephson's Cafe Society club in Greenwich Village, and specialised in haunting ballads. Although she fronted both Count Basie's and Artis Shaw's big bands for short period, she was at her best with just a rhythm section. From the early 1940s her life was a constant battle with drug addiction, plus a series of tempestuous relationships with her husbands or long-term male partners.

By the 1950s, her voice could sound careworn and world-weary, but she maintained the ability to project raw emotion, right up to the end of her short life. Musically, she formed a particularly successful partnership with tenorist Lester Young and their recordings together show the strong empathy between them.

Back to artist