Monday, April 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Billie

Today would have been the 93rd birthday of Billie Holiday. A tragic childhood, a hard life, and one that was all too short, oh, but she could sing! She could bend a syllable and move an audience to tears. Ella, Lena, Sarah, they all stand in her shadow.


Bee said...

Strange Fruit is a powerful, haunting song -- and I can't imagine anyone being able to deliver it the way that Billie does.

I'm not sure if anything -- not even the best writing -- can express emotion the way that music can. What a gift.

Bitty said...


In her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou doesn't hold back about her hatred for Holiday (on a personal level). It's been a long time since I read it, but I believe it had to do with Holiday's very bad behavior, which was surely attributable to her addictions.

In her autobiography Girl Singer, Rosemary Clooney doesn't hold back about her love for Holiday. Billie was, in fact, the godmother of one of Rosemary's daughters. Of this, Billie reportedly said, "It takes a bad woman to be a good godmother." I suspect that because Billie and Rosemary both fought addictions, Clooney was more disposed to be empathetic and loving toward Holiday.

I've always found this juxtaposition of opinions interesting.

Petra said...

Yes, "Strange Fruit" is the best she ever did. I feel shivers running down my spine listening to her singing it.

Anonymous said...

whoa! i share a birthday w/ Billie Holiday?

how cool am i? cool is she?

either way...

hey! you're back!

welcome back!

PS, i am trying to use "open ID" to see how it works, so please bear w/ me. ;)

Brave Sir Robin said...

Happy (belated) birthday Brandann!

Robin said...

Boy, it's a busy birthday--it was mine too!

konagod said...

Darn. I wish I'd seen this yesterday and I would have done a tribute!

Brave Sir Robin said...

Kona - I had expected you to, I checked your site before I posted.

I was all prepared to send you some link love.