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Queens of Heartache

A look at iconic female singers of the 20th century who tragically died young. The singers featured include Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Maria Callas and Janis Joplin.

Documentary about a group of female singers whose voices make you weep, who sang songs of heartbreak and betrayal, had lives that seemed to mirror their music and deaths that came too soon and made myths of them all. Yet their voices triumph over tragedy and they became icons of the 20th century.

Edith Piaf, the Urchin Queen, stood small but strong and became the voice of her nation and of everyone who ever made mistakes. Billie Holiday, the Jazz Queen, her voice full of pain and yearning. Judy Garland, Showbiz Queen, raised in the film studio that fed her addiction to pills and to fame. Maria Callas, Drama Queen, whose voice brought out the heartache in opera and whose life echoed the roles she played. And Janis Joplin, Wild Queen, who offered up a 'piece of her heart' and died of drug abuse at just 27.

With contributions from Mickey Rooney, Charles Aznavour, Country Joe McDonald, KT Tunstall, Katie Melua and Corinne Bailey-Rae.

1 hour

Last on

Sat 21 Feb 2015 22:50

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:00

    Billie Holiday

    Good Morning Heartache 

  • 00:00

    Janis Joplin & Kozmic Blues Band 

    Piece of My Heart

  • 00:00

    Judy Garland

    Over the Rainbow

  • 00:01

    Billie Holiday

    God Bless the Child 

  • 00:01

    Édith Piaf

    Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien 

  • 00:03

    Édith Piaf

    La Foule 

  • 00:04

    Édith Piaf

    Une Valse 

  • 00:04

    Édith Piaf

    C'est Merveilleux 

  • 00:05

    Édith Piaf

    La Vie En Rose 

  • 00:06

    Édith Piaf

    L'accordeoniste

  • 00:07

    Édith Piaf

    La Foule 

  • 00:08

    Édith Piaf

    Les Amants D'un Jour 

  • 00:09

    Édith Piaf

    Les Amants D'un Jour 

  • 00:09

    Édith Piaf

    Comme Moi 

  • 00:10

    Édith Piaf

    Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien 

  • 00:11

    Édith Piaf

    Les Prisons Du Roi 

  • 00:13

    Billie Holiday

    God Bless the Child 

  • 00:14

    Billie Holiday

    Please Keep Me in Your Dreams 

  • 00:15

    Billie Holiday

    Your Mother's Son-in-law 

  • 00:15

    Billie Holiday

    Strange Fruit

  • 00:17

    Billie Holiday & Teddy Wilson and His Orchestra

    I Wished on the Moon 

  • 00:18

    Billie Holiday

    My Man 

  • 00:19

    Billie Holiday

    Don't Explain 

  • 00:21

    Billie Holiday

    Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone 

  • 00:23

    Judy Garland

    Over the Rainbow

  • 00:25

    Rooney, Mickey 

    The Boy Next Door 

  • 00:26

    Judy Garland

    I'm Just Wild About Harry 

  • 00:26

    Judy Garland

    Meet the Beat of My Heart 

  • 00:27

    Judy Garland

    But Not For Me

  • 00:28

    Édith Piaf

    Comme Moi 

  • 00:29

    Judy Garland

    The Man That Got Away

  • 00:33

    Judy Garland

    Over the Rainbow

  • 00:34

    Maria Callas

    Casta Diva 

  • 00:36

    Maria Callas

    Un Bel Di Vedremo

  • 00:40

    Giacomo Puccini

    Tosca

    Performer: Maria Callas.
  • 00:41

    Vincenzo Bellini

    NORMA 

  • 00:44

    Gaetano Donizetti

    REGNAVA NEL SILENZIO 

    Performer: Maria Callas.
  • 00:46

    Janis Joplin

    CRY BABY

  • 00:49

    Janis Joplin

    WHAT GOOD CAN DRINKIN' DO? 

  • 00:50

    Janis Joplin

    MERCEDES BENZ 

  • 00:50

    Janis Joplin

    MISERY 'N 

  • 00:51

    Big Brother & The Holding Company

    COMBINATION OF THE TWO 

  • Big Brother & The Holding Company

    Piece Of My Heart

    Singer: Janis Joplin.
  • 00:55

    Janis Joplin

    SUMMERTIME

  • 00:57

    Janis Joplin

    Me And Bobby McGee

Credits

Role Contributor
Producer Jill Nicholls
Executive Producer Mark Cooper

Broadcasts

  • Thu 27 Jul 2006 22:35
  • Wed 8 Sep 2010 19:00
  • Thu 28 Apr 2011 20:00
  • Fri 29 Apr 2011 00:45
  • Fri 21 Mar 2014 00:00
  • Thu 4 Dec 2014 23:30
  • Sat 21 Feb 2015 22:50