Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Celebrating A Centennial For Billie

Today I'm setting aside photography to mark an occasion. Today is the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the great American jazz singer Billie Holiday. She lived a tumultuous and tragic life, dying much too young. Her voice had a limited range- but she would work wonders with that range. She could make you feel warm inside and break your heart- often within the same song.

To mark the occasion, here are two of her signature songs. The first is a protest song of outrage at lynchings in the American South; pay close attention to the lyrics. The second is a love song.

Happy Birthday, Billie. You were the best.


  1. Nicely written brief explanation of her greatness!

    ALOHA from Honolulu,

  2. Billie teve a vida marcada por tragédias mas estas não foram suficientes para calar o seu grande talento
    Uma bela homenagem ao centenário da grande cantora
    Um abraço

  3. Can't wait to listen to the songs. Thank you for linking them. You must be on vacation. You've been painfully quiet lately!


  4. I knew the strange fruit by Nina Simone. Thanks for your link I listened this version as well. Happy birthday Billie Holiday
    Thank you William

  5. thanks for sharing, I like her song "All of Me."

  6. I didn't know today is her hundredth anniversary.
    To honour her I'm playing one of my favourite sonds now: "Summertime".

  7. the second one is classic. i had not heard the first before and it gave me chills and stomach churns. bless her.

  8. I don't Listen to Billie enough. I'm familiar with the Very Thought of You but don't remember the other song.

  9. @Cloudia: thanks!

    @Kay: she was such a talent.

    @Gracita: there was so much tragedy in her life. Heartbreaking when you get to know about that.

    @Janis: the Easter weekend tends to wreck havoc with computer time. It'll take me a couple of days to catch up.

    @Luis: you're welcome.

    @Marianne: I love jazz, and she is quite simply my favourite jazz singer.

    @Feyza: I have heard Nina's take on the song, and like that one too.

    @Gill: that's a great one too.

    @Jan: another great one.

    @Tex: Strange Fruit is such a powerful song. It does give one chills.

    @Sharon: I thought it entirely appropriate to go in this direction today.

    @Red: I've been listening to Billie for years, and The Very Thought Of You was one of the earliest ones from her songbook that I heard.

  10. She was something else. My favorite was "The Very Thought of You" and I often play that on the piano.

  11. Wonderful tribute William.. Too many amazingly talented artists die at a young age, bet there's one hell of a party going on somewhere :)

  12. What a great tribute for the wonderful singer.
    Happy birthday to Billie Holiday!

  13. I think I'll have to get Billie on the turntable (CD player) tonight! Great post, William!

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Cannot believe it ! She was and still is one of the greatest.

  15. Nice tribute, William! She was amazing!

  16. Maybe not the best, but surely one of the greatest!

  17. I really liked her and have several cassettes--maybe I should get CDs. Tragic story though

  18. i love Billie. she is beautiful and her voice. awesome!! amazing!! ( :

  19. After the day I've had, this was perfect thank you!

  20. A wonderful tribute to a gifted woman....

  21. Lovely tribute and great songs, William. Thank you!

  22. Very thoughtful William, a tribute to a great artist..

  23. @Lowell: I've heard so much of her music down through the years.

    @Grace: she was a tormented soul.

    @Tamago: she surely was the best.

    @Mari: yes, she was.

    @RedPat: I have several of her albums. I'll be listening to her again tonight.

    @Tomas: I guess some musicians make more of an impact in some parts of Europe than others, but she's very well known here.

    @Marietta: she was a legend.

    @EG: she certainly was.

    @VP: It might be a matter of taste- some might go for Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, or Nina Simone.

    @MB: a very tragic story.

    @Beth: she was amazing.

    @Ciel: you're welcome.

    @Linda: thanks!

    @Norma: she was.

    @Jennifer: thank you!

    @Linda: you're welcome.

    @Geoff: thanks!

  24. A nice tribute to one of the iconic voices from the 20th C.

  25. Yes, she had great talent. A real trailblazer.

  26. A nice tribute...

  27. She was an amazing singer, what a voice! Thank you for sharing those links.

  28. She was a great singer. Great post for her, William

  29. @Randy: a short life, but such a presence.

    @Peter: she was such a joy to listen to.

    @Linda: that she was.

    @Halcyon: she's missed.

    @TDP: thank you!

    @Denise: you're welcome.

    @Orvokki: thanks!

    @Jose: thank you.

    @Whisk: she belongs in heaven.