Billie Holiday

Jazz Singer
Born Apr 7, 1915

For the Canadian radio personality with the same name, see Billie Holiday Billie Holiday File:Billie Holiday 0001 original. jpgPortrait from Down Beat magazine, ca. February 1947Background informationBirth name Eleanora FaganBorn Template:Safesubst:April 7, 1915(1915-04-07)Template:Safesubst:Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United StatesDied Template:Safesubst:July 17, 1959(1959-07-17) (aged 44)Template:Safesubst:New York City, New York, U.S.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Billie Holiday.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Billie Holiday.


1915 Birth Eleanora Fagan was born on April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia, the daughter of Sarah Julia "Sadie" Fagan and Clarence Holiday, an unmarried teenaged couple. … Read More
…  Holiday frequently skipped school and her truancy resulted in her being brought before the juvenile court on January 5, 1925, when she was nine years old. … Read More


1926 - 1928 3 More Events
1929 14 Years Old 1 More Event
By early 1929, Holiday joined her mother in Harlem. … Read More
1931 16 Years Old Benny Goodman recalled hearing Holiday in 1931 at The Bright Spot. … Read More
1932 17 Years Old By the end of 1932 at the age of 17, Billie Holiday replaced the singer Monette Moore at a club called Covan's on West 132nd Street.
1933 18 Years Old 1 More Event
The producer John Hammond, who loved Monette Moore's singing and had come to hear her, first heard Holiday in early 1933.


In 1935, Billie Holiday had a small role as a woman being abused by her lover in Duke Ellington's short Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life. … Read More
1936 21 Years Old Her tunes included "I Must Have That Man", "Travelin' All Alone", "I Can't Get Started", and "Summertime", a hit for Holiday in 1936, originating in George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess a few years earlier. … Read More
By March 1938, Shaw and Holiday had been broadcast on New York City's powerful radio station WABC (the original WABC, now WCBS). … Read More
1939 - 1942 4 More Events
1944 29 Years Old 1 More Event
Milt Gabler became an A&R man for Decca Records as well as owning Commodore Records, and he signed Holiday to the label on August 7, 1944, when she was 29. … Read More


1945 30 Years Old Holiday did not make any more records until August 1945, when she recorded "Don't Explain" for a second time, changing the lyrics "I know you raise Cain" to "Just say you'll remain", and "You mixed with some dame" to "What is there to gain?" Other songs recorded were "Big Stuff", "What Is This Thing Called Love? … Read More
In 1946, Holiday recorded "Good Morning Heartache". … Read More
On May 16, 1947, she was arrested for possessing narcotics in her New York apartment.
1948 33 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1948, Holiday played at the Ebony Club, which, because she lost her cabaret card, was against the law. … Read More
1949 34 Years Old In October 1949, Holiday recorded "Crazy He Calls Me", which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010. … Read More
1950 35 Years Old In 1950, Holiday appeared in the Universal short film Sugar Chile Robinson, Billie Holiday, Count Basie and His Sextet, singing "God Bless the Child" and "Now, Baby or Never". … Read More
1954 39 Years Old Holiday first toured Europe in 1954 as part of a Leonard Feather package. … Read More


Holiday's autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, was ghostwritten by William Dufty and published in 1956. … Read More
1957 42 Years Old On March 28, 1957, Holiday married Louis McKay, a Mafia enforcer. … Read More
Her performance of "Fine and Mellow" on CBS's The Sound of Jazz program is memorable for her interplay with her long-time friend Lester Young. Both were less than two years from death. When Lester Young died in March 1959 Holiday wanted to sing at his funeral, but was refused.
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.