Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday was one of the most influential jazz singers of all time. She had a thriving career for many years before she lost her battle with addiction. She was so addicted to heroin that she was even arrested for possession while in the hospital. On July 17, 1959, Holiday died from alcohol- and drug-related complications.

billie holiday
billie holiday

Billie Holiday was one of the most influential jazz singers of all time. She had a thriving career for many years before she lost her battle with addiction. She was so addicted to heroin that she was even arrested for possession while in the hospital. On July 17, 1959, Holiday died from alcohol- and drug-related complications.

Intro

billie holiday

Jazz vocalist Billie Holiday was born April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Considered one of the best jazz vocalists of all time, Holiday had a thriving career as a jazz singer for many years before she lost her battle with substance abuse. Her autobiography was made into the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues. In 2000, Billie Holiday was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Baltimore

billie holiday

Holiday spent much of her childhood in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother, Sadie, was only a teenager when she had her. Her father is widely believed to be Clarence Holiday, who eventually became a successful jazz musician, playing with the likes of Fletcher Henderson. Unfortunately for Billie, he was only an infrequent visitor in her life growing up.

Discovered

billie holiday

At the age of 18, Holiday was discovered by producer John Hammond while she was performing in a Harlem jazz club. Hammond was instrumental in getting Holiday recording work with an up-and-coming clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman. With Goodman, she sang vocals for several tracks, including her first commercial release "Your Mother's Son-In-Law" and the 1934 top ten hit "Riffin' the Scotch."

Addict

billie holiday

Over the years, Holiday sang many songs of stormy relationships, including "T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do" and "My Man." These songs reflected her personal romances, which were often destructive and abusive. She married James Monroe in 1941. Already known to drink, Holiday picked up her new husband's habit of smoking opium. The marriage didn't last, but Holiday's problems with substance abuse continued.