Book cover, 23.5k BILLIE HOLIDAY - Singer

by: Bud Kliment
publisher: Melrose Square Publishing Company, Los Angeles
ISBN number: 0-87067-561-3

Billie Holiday's breathtaking vocals made her one of the most widely admired jazz singers of all time. Born Eleanora Fagan in 1915, she spent her early years in Baltimore, Maryland, where her childhood was marred by physical and emotional abuse. After moving to New York City with her mother in 1927, she made her professional singing debut in a Harlem nightclub at the age of fifteen. As word of the young and talented performer spread, she saw her career climb steadily. By the late 1930s, she had toured with such big bands as Count Basie and Artie Shaw. The decade culminated with her recording of "Strange Fruit," an emotional protest against racial brutality. The song helped her win such widespread recognition that by the early 1940s she had become the star attraction of the New York jazz scene. However, in 1941 she became addicted to heroin and by 1947 she was in prison for possession of narcotics. Drug abuse and alcoholism turned triumph to tragedy for one of the world's greatest performers.

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