Billie Holiday, birth name Elinore Harris, by name Lady Day, (born April 7, 1915, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.—died July 17, 1959, New York City, New York), American jazz singer, one of the greatest from the 1930s to the ’50s. Holiday died of cirrhosis on July 17, 1959, at age 44. Jazz Singer Billy Holiday
After a turbulent childhood, Holiday began singing in nightclubs in Harlem, where she was heard by producer John Hammond, who liked her voice. She signed a recording contract with Brunswick in 1935. Collaborations with Teddy Wilson produced the hit “What a Little Moonlight Can Do”, which became a jazz standard. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Holiday had mainstream success on labels such as Columbia and Decca. By the late 1940s, however, she was beset with legal troubles and drug abuse. After a short prison sentence, she performed at a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall. Because of personal struggles and an altered voice, her final recordings were met with mixed reaction but were mild commercial successes. Her final album, Lady in Satin, was released in 1958.
Holiday won four Grammy Awards, all of them posthumously, for Best Historical Album. She was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame. She was also inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, though not in that genre; the website states that “Billie Holiday changed jazz forever”. Several films about her life have been released, most recently The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021). Jazz Singer Billy Holiday
Her performances on 52nd Street influenced Frank Sinatra as a young man. He told Ebony magazine in 1958 about her impact:
With few exceptions, every major pop singer in the US during her generation has been touched in some way by her genius. It is Billie Holiday who was, and still remains, the greatest single musical influence on me. Lady Day is unquestionably the most important influence on American popular singing in the last twenty years.
The Passport Jazz Singer Billy Holiday
Jazz Singer Billy Holiday