Billie Holiday

(redirected from Eleanora Fagan)

Holiday, Billie,

1915–59, American singer, b. Baltimore. Her original name was Eleanora Fagan. She began singing professionally in 1930, and after performing with numerous bands—especially those of Benny GoodmanGoodman, Benny
(Benjamin David Goodman), 1909–86, American clarinetist, composer, and band leader, b. Chicago. Goodman studied clarinet at Hull House. In Chicago he had the opportunity to hear (and eventually to play beside) some of the outstanding jazz musicians of the
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, Teddy Wilson, Count BasieBasie, Count
(William Basie) , 1904–84, American jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer, b. Red Bank, N.J. After working in dance halls and vaudeville in New York City, Basie moved to Kansas City, a major jazz center.
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, and Artie ShawShaw, Artie,
1910–2004, American clarinetist and bandleader, b. New York City as Arthur Jacob Arshawsky. He began playing professionally as a teenager, becoming a studio musician in New York after 1929.
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—she embarked in 1940 on a career of solo appearances in nightclubs and theaters. Her highly personal approach to a song, her individual phrasing and intonation, and the often rough but highly emotional quality of her voice soon earned her a supreme position among modern jazz singers. Although she was financially successful, she suffered many personal disasters, complicated by the drug addiction that she could not overcome and that eventually destroyed her career and hastened her death. She was also known as Lady Day.

Bibliography

See her sometimes factually inaccurate autobiography (1956); biographies by D. Clarke (1994) and S. Nicholson (1995), critical biography by J. Szwed (2015); D. Margolick, Strange Fruit (2000).

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Holiday, (Eleanora) Billie “Lady Day”

(1915–59) jazz musician; born in Baltimore, Md. She is the most widely celebrated and influential singer in jazz history, but also one of its most tragic figures, her career hampered by drug addiction, prison sentences, and racial injustice. Between 1933–42, she made a brilliant series of small group recordings featuring Teddy Wilson and Lester Young and appeared with the big bands of Count Basie and Artie Shaw. Her 1939 recording of "Strange Fruit," which depicted a lynching, was a cause célèbre. She appeared in several films, including New Orleans (1946), but by the end of the 1940s her voice had begun to deteriorate, taking on a fragile huskiness that initially added to her emotional appeal. She continued to record and appear as a nightclub performer until 1959. Her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, was published in 1956 and was the basis for a 1973 film biography.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
| 1915: Billie Holiday - "Lady Day" - said by some to be the greatest jazz singer of all time - was born in Baltimore as Eleanora Fagan.
1915: Billie Holiday, singer, was born in Baltimore as Eleanora Fagan. 1947: Death of Henry Ford, American motor car manufacturer.
1915: Billie Holiday - "Lady Day" - said by some to be the greatest jazz singer of all time - was born in Baltimore as Eleanora Fagan. 1947: Death of Henry Ford, American motor car manufacturer.
Eleanora Fagan (April 7, 1915 July 17, 1959), professionally known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz musician and singer-songwriter with a career spanning nearly thirty years.
Late US jazz singer, born Eleanora Fagan, was better known by what name?
My real name was Eleanora Fagan and I was born to teenage parents, although there are questions surrounding my paternity.
BILLIE HOLLIDAY - THE REAL BILLIE HOLLIDAY BORN Eleanora Fagan on April 17, 1915 in Philadelphia and raised in Harlem, New York, Billie Holliday is recognised by many as the greatest jazz singer of all time.
1915: Billie Holiday "Lady Day" - said by some to be the greatest jazz singer of all time - was born in Baltimore as Eleanora Fagan.
"Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee Bridgewater"
The odds were stacked against Eleanora Fagan, who was born to unwed teenage parents in Philadelphia on April 7, 1915.
1915: Billie Holiday, said by some to be the greatest jazz singer of all time was born in Baltimore as Eleanora Fagan.