Tuesday, December 25, 2007
HOLIDAY, BILLIE "Lady Day" Billie Holiday was among the leading blues singers during the 1930's and 1940's. Born in Baltimore in 1915, Holiday began singing in Harlem nightclubs during the late twenties. As her reputation grew, she began to cut records and appear with the "big band" names of Benny Goodman, Ted Wilson, Count Basie and Artie Shaw. Once addicted to both drugs and alcohol, Holiday's life was a mixed-bag of triumphs and heartbreaks, all of which were reflected in her vocal artistry and soul-inspired blues renditions. Her autobiography of 1956, replete with the ups and downs of her career, formed the basis of a 1973 motion picture, "Lady Sings the Blues," starring Diana Ross. "Lady Day" herself died in New York City in 1959.