Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Billie Holiday (1915 - 1959)
Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan Gough; April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Ladybug" by her sometime collaborator Lester Young, Holiday was a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing. Her vocal style — strongly inspired by instrumentalists — pioneered a new way of manipulating wording and tempo, and also popularized a more personal and intimate approach to singing. Critic John Bush wrote that she "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", and "Lady Sings the Blues". She also became famous for singing jazz standards written by others, including "Easy Living" and "Strange Fruit."