Photograph of American jazz singer Billie Holiday.

Billie Holiday

(1915 - 1959)

Born Eleanora Fagan in 1915, Billie Holiday listened to Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong albums as a child, spent a year at a “Catholic institution” for juvenile delinquents, and, as “everybody was talking about Lindbergh’s hop to Paris that summer of 1927,” she “made it solo from Baltimore to New York City.” Her first record was made with Benny Goodman in 1933; she recorded the songs “Summertime” in 1936 and “Strange Fruit” in 1939. Holiday was arrested on narcotics charges in 1947 and again in 1956.

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