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Billie Holiday (1915 – 1959)


Born Eleanora Fagan Goughy, was an American singer, generally considered one of the greatest jazz voices of all time; she was also known as Lady Day.
Billie Holiday
I ain't good looking
And my hair ain't curls
But my mother she give me something
It's going to carry me through this world.
Holiday quotes
If you think dope is for kicks and for thrills, youíre out of your mind. There are more kicks the fuck to be had in a good case of paralytic polio or by living in an iron lung. If you think you need stuff to play music or sing, youíre crazy. It can fix you so you canít play nothing or sing nothing.
Holiday
Billie Holidayís burned voice
had as many shadows as lights,
a mournful candelabra against a sleek piano,
the gardenia her signature under that ruined face.




Holiday Billie quotes
Behind me, Billie was on her last song. I picked up the refrain, humming a few bars. Her voice sounded different to me now. Beneath the layers of hurt, beneath the ragged laughter, I heard a willingness to endure. Endure- and make music that wasn't there before.
Holiday Billie
No two people on earth are alike, and it's got to be that way in music or it isn't music.
Billie Holiday quotes
I've been told that nobody sings the word "hunger" like I do. Or the word "love."
Billie Holiday
Lord I love my man, tell the world I do
I love my man, tell the world I do
But when he mistreats me
Makes me feel so blue.
Holiday Billie quotes
Billie's voice was shot, though the gardenia in her hair was as fresh as usual. Ben Webster, for so long big man on tenor, was backing her. He was having it rough, too. Yet they transcended. There were perhaps fifteen, twenty patrons in the house. At most. Awful sad. Still, when Lady sang "Fine and Mellow," you felt that way. And when she went into "Willow, Weep for Me," you wept. You looked about and saw that the few other customers were also crying in their beer and shot glasses. Nor were they that drunk. Something was still there, that something that distinguishes an artist from a performer: the revealing of the self. Here I be. Not for long, but here I be. In sensing her mortality, we sensed our own.
Holiday
Yes, the strong gets more
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets don't ever make the grade
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own.
Holiday Billie
Billie Holiday's voice was the voice of living intensity of soul in the true sense of that greatly abused word. As a human being she was sweet, sour, kind, mean, generous, profane, lovable and impossible, and nobody who knew her expects to see anyone quite like her again.
Billie Holiday
I canít stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession, let alone two years or ten years. If you can, then it ainít music, itís close-order drill or exercise or yodeling or something, not music.




Billie Holiday quotes
Who love my man, I'm a liar if I say I don't
But I'll quit my man, I'm a liar if I say I wont.
Billie Holiday
I've been your slave
Ever since I've been your babe
But before I be your dog
I'll see you in your grave.
Holiday quotes
Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaf and blood at the root
Black bodies swinginí in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanginí in the poplar trees.
Holiday Billie
I would say that the most emotional moment was her listening to the playback of "I'm a Fool to Want You." There were tears in her eyes... After we finished the album I went into the control room and listened to all the takes. I must admit I was unhappy with her performance, but I was just listening musically instead of emotionally. It wasn't until I heard the final mix a few weeks later that I realized how great her performance really was.
Holiday Billie quotes
Them that's got shall get
Them that's not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own.
Billie Holiday
In this country, donít forget, a habit is no damn private hell. Thereís no solitary confinement outside of jail. A habit is hell for those you love. And in this country itís the worst kind of hell for those who love you.
Billie Holiday quotes
You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation.
Billie Holiday
She could express more emotion in one chorus than most actresses can in three acts.
Holiday Billie
Money, you've got lots of friends
Crowding round the door
When you're gone, spending ends
They don't come no more
Rich relations give
Crust of bread and such
You can help yourself
But don't take too much.


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