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Tragedies that hardened the icon of jazz vocals - facts about Billie Holiday

It seemed that she was born under a cursed star. However, if this curse really took place, it is precisely this curse that made Billie Holiday a jazz icon...

The unprecedented rise and tragic life of Billie Holiday

This woman entered the history of music as innovator, influencing the development of jazz vocals with his original style of performance. legendary voice Billie Holiday is the gold standard of the Jazz Age, and the bone-chilling lyrics are a reflection of her own life of love and endless pain. She was born in far from the best circumstances, grew up in poverty, almost went crazy and saw what modern people are accustomed to watching only on TV. It is not surprising that coming of age Eleanor Fagan (real name of the singer) plunged into the world of psychoactive substances ... It seemed that she was born under a cursed star. However, if this curse really took place, that is what made Billie Holiday jazz icon. A woman of incredible strength, stamina and talent - much of her biography remains a mystery to music lovers.

Her parents were teenagers

Billie Holiday as a child
Billie Holiday as a child

Billie Holiday refers to those children who were not desired ... The future star was born in 1915 year in a family of ... teenagers. At the time of her birth, her father was only 16, while her mother was 18. Young musician Clarence Holiday left the family. girl's mother, Sadie Fagan, was not rich, and therefore with a baby in her arms she had a very hard time. Nevertheless, she did not abandon her daughter, who would later become an icon of jazz vocals...

Apparently, Eleanor did not hold a grudge against her father: her pseudonym Billie Holiday was inspired by the name of her favorite actress Billy Dove and paternal surname.

From an early age she walked through humiliation and pain

Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday

In 9 years baby Eleanor was sent to a reform school for African American girls. There she was treated, to put it mildly, badly. And even if she was not touched physically, the psychological pressure was much stronger and more painful for the child. The institution was famous for its harsh punishments for even the slightest mistake or misconduct. An experience holiday was traumatic and left a lasting impression for the rest of his life...

Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday

Fortunately, in 10 years the mother managed to take her daughter home, but the joy of reunion was short-lived: a neighbor attacked the girl in order to take advantage of her ... The mother called the police, the trial began. But in the end, charges were brought against Billie Holiday She allegedly seduced the man herself. As a result, the girl ended up behind bars, where she spent several years.

In 1928 year Eleanor moved with his mother to New York, but soon the sad experience was repeated: this time all the charges were brought against the criminal, but he spent only 3 months behind bars. Meanwhile, Billy followed in the footsteps of her mother: she had no education, and therefore the most accessible and well-paid profession turned out to be the oldest ... 16 years she was again sent to prison - this time for extortion.

She wanted to dance, not sing

Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday

After her release from prison, Holiday needed a job. She went to a club called "Log cabin"to apply for a job as a dancer, but as a result, she was cast as a singer:

“I told him I was a dancer. He said to dance. I tried. He said it was terrible. Then I told him that I can sing ... "

So Billy hired as a singer $18 per week, but gradually she began to perform in other, more highly paid clubs in Harlem. In the middle 1930s Holiday became one of the first black singers to work with a white orchestra. At the time, this was not a widely accepted practice. Nevertheless, despite her popularity, she fought for her rights for a long time ... An interesting fact: once, while playing with a black orchestra, the manager of the institution insisted that the girl darken her "light" skin so that "people don't get upset" - many thought that a white woman sang with a colored orchestra. Holiday once admitted that it was sometimes difficult to find a restaurant where her whole group could eat together - calmly and without unnecessary sidelong glances.

The hit "Strange Fruit" entered the history of American music forever

Billie Holiday (billie holiday)
Billie Holiday (billie holiday)

The history of the cult "Strange Fruit" started as a poem Abel Miropol. Man wrote this in protest after seeing photos of the lynching Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Indiana in 1930. Abel set the poem to music and began performing it publicly at the protests! Holiday first performed this work in 1939 year.

Remarkable, but at sunset 30s the singer's label, Columbia, was not interested in recording the song. But Billy was not at a loss, and wrote down "Strange Fruit" on Commodore Records. As a result, the composition became a huge hit and an integral part of culture and history. USA. However, at that time, a small percentage of people understood its true meaning: Holiday said that, meaning "Strange Fruit", people asked her to perform "this sexy song about swinging people."

She appeared on the big screen with her idol

Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong

Since childhood, Holiday admired the actress Billy Dove. But no less excited was the music of the legendary jazz trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong! And before she was arrested in 1947 year, she managed to star with her idol in the film "New Orleans"! The film is a romantic musical in which the characters Louis and Billy fall in love with each other. It is hard to imagine how colossal, fiery success it was for the singer ...

Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday

And it is unlikely that Billy thought that after her death a film would be made about her. But it happened. IN 1972 the premiere took place "Lady Sings the Blues" - a tape based on the eponymous autobiography of Holiday with Diana Ross starring. The film received five Academy Award nominations and grossed millions of dollars at the box office.

Dangerous love affairs

Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday

Billy's first husband Jimmy Monroe, was a musician, as well as a heavily addicted person. It was he who put Holiday on psychoactive substances, from which the singer could not refuse until her death ... Their marriage lasted less than three years, after which Billy met Joe Guy, American jazz trumpeter. The couple's union lasted almost 7 years, but was also overshadowed by illegal drugs. The relationship ended after the couple was arrested. Guy later died at the age of 41.

Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday

In 1957 year Holiday married Louis McKay, and, alas, this union was no different from the previous ones ... Some biographers are sure that Louis simply took advantage of the status of a singer in order to open his own recording studio. Others claim he was a Mexican mobster and Holiday's marriage to him was hell...

A utopia that ended a cult story

Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday

In the middle 1940s no mother holiday. This event was a huge tragedy for Billy, who, without thinking about the consequences, plunged into the world of alcohol and psychoactive substances ... At some point, her life turned into an abyss, from which the singer never managed to get out. The addiction developed into a severe one, and ultimately overshadowed the singer's career for the rest of her life. She reached her apogee in 1947 year: then Holiday was arrested for possession, and soon sent to a federal rehabilitation center in Virginia. She subsequently returned to the stage, but she no longer had a license that allowed her to play in establishments that sold alcohol. Billy continued to perform at such grandiose venues as carnegie hall, and toured Europe, but her heart yearned for the nightclubs she grew up in...

Billie Holiday (center)
Billie Holiday (center)

The last time the legendary singer was arrested on her deathbed. It happened in 1959 year when Billie Holiday ended up in the hospital with liver and heart problems resulting from years of use. There she was arrested and held under "bed arrest" a month before she passed away. A guard stood near her ward, who did not allow even a bouquet of flowers to be carried to the singer. July 17, 1959 the icon of jazz vocals is gone: she had only 44 years old

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