March is Women in Jazz Month, a time to celebrate the contributions of women to jazz. Few – male or female – have contributed more to the jazz canon than Billie Holiday. In the decades since her death, Lady Day has been celebrated in film, song, books, fashion and art.
ClickitTicket, a resale marketplace, has created a timeline of Billie Holiday’s life, beginning with her birth in Philadelphia in 1915 and ending with her death in a New York City hospital in 1959.
Billie Holiday’s voice was a little thin and somewhat limited. She had no technical training; she couldn’t even read sheet music.
Yet, Holiday is one of the greatest vocalists of all-time.
What she lacked in power and tone, she made up for it with the ability to tell a story and emote. Every song she sang she made her own.
Holiday was a true artist who had a profound impact on both jazz and pop music.
She made a huge impact on countless artists including Frank Sinatra.
“Lady Day is unquestionably the most important influence on American popular singing in the last twenty years,” explained Ol’ Blue Eyes to Ebony magazine in 1958.
Despite personal demons, abusive romantic relationships, and the specter of racism, Holiday achieved commercial and artistic success during her lifetime.
Since her death in the late 1950s, generations of musicians have turned to her recordings for inspiration and enlightenment.