April 07: The late Billie Holiday was born in 1915 – 100 years ago

billie_holiday  The first popular jazz singer to move audiences with the intense, personal feeling of classic blues, Billie Holiday changed the art of American pop vocals forever.
~John Bush (allmusic.com)
The Billie Holiday Story – BBC Documentary (56min)

April 07: The late Billie Holiday was born in 1915

billie holiday

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Strange Fruit:

Birth name Eleanora Fagan 
Also known as Lady Day
Born April 7, 1915
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Origin Harlem, New York, United States
Died July 17, 1959 (aged 44)
New York City, New York, United States
Genres Vocal jazz, jazz blues, torch songs, swing, blues, R&B
Occupations Singer, songwriter, actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1933–59


Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed “Lady Day” by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo.

Critic John Bush wrote that Holiday “changed the art of American pop vocals forever.” She co-wrote only a few songs, but several of them have become jazz standards, notably “God Bless the Child”, “Don’t Explain”, “Fine and Mellow”, and “Lady Sings the Blues”. She also became famous for singing “Easy Living”, “Good Morning Heartache”, and “Strange Fruit”, a protest song which became one of her standards and was made famous with her 1939 recording.

Music critic Robert Christgau called her “uncoverable, possibly the greatest singer of the century“.

billie holiday

Billie Holiday & Louis Armstrong – The Blues Are Brewin’

A few of her many honors & awards:

  • 1987, Billie Holiday was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 1993, R&B singer Miki Howard released an album dedicated to Holiday titled Miki Sings Billie.
  • 1994, the United States Postal Service introduced a Billie Holiday postage stamp.
  • 1999, Holiday ranked No. 6 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women in Rock n’ Roll.
  • 2000, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Album of the day:

Verve Ultimate Cool


Other 7 April:

  • Robert Joseph “Bobby” Bare (born April 7, 1935, Ironton, OH) is an American country music singer and songwriter. He is the father of Bobby Bare, Jr., also a musician.
  • Ravi Shankar (born Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury on 7 April 1920), often referred to by the title Pandit, is an Indian musician and composer who plays the plucked string instrument sitar. He has been described as the most known contemporary Indian musician by Hans Neuhoff in Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart.
  • Bruce Springsteen plays a fantastic concert @ Allen Theatre – Cleveland, Ohio in 1976.
    The concert was part of his “Chicken Scratch Tour”: This colorfully named tour began on March 25, 1976; the official 1984 Springsteen chronology would state of that date, “The fabled ‘Chicken Scratch Tour’ begins, taking Springsteen and E Streeters on an extremely meandering route through the south, midwest, and northeast United States.” The name was actually given by the band’s road crew, due to many of the shows being in secondary markets in the South.

-Egil & Hallgeir

One thought on “April 07: The late Billie Holiday was born in 1915 – 100 years ago”

  1. Billie Holiday although not alive in my hay days , was a name that was as common as the then 1975-1980 very popular artists; I had always knew the name which would roll off my tongue like abc’s. But I couldn’t name a song.
    She was such an intense famous artist long after her decease as synonymous a name as Churchill ( Winston ) purely infamous, even if you didn’t remember or even listen to a song of hers. Infam

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