Billie Holiday (1915-1959), the legendary jazz singer whose vocal stylings were deeply affecting, continues to enthrall. This
biography conveys her hard-luck youth, career triumphs, and then decline and early death. At age 14, despite growing up with
an absentee musician father, little schooling, a rape at 10, and jail time for prostitution, this extraordinary girl moved
to New York City to find work as a dancer or singer. She soon became the toast of Harlem and went on to tour and record with
the biggest names in jazz. Holiday's career took off in the 1930s, during the Depression, and the biography evokes the era
and atmosphere of the jazz club scene. The state of race relations in the country is discussed as Holiday tours with white
bandleaders such as Artie Shaw and even as she sings about lynching in the controversial Strange Fruit. The narrative further
chronicles Holiday's relationships, descent into drug addiction, the subsequent diminishment of her talent, and tragic early
death. Readers today will then want to seek out Holiday's recordings to more fully appreciate her interpretations of the songs
of that classic era.
Learn about the hard-luck life and triumphs of a woman many consider the greatest jazz singer.