Lady Sings the Blues

Lady Sings the Blues

Book - 2006
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Originally released by Doubleday in 1956, Harlem Moon Classics celebrates the publication with the fiftieth-anniversary edition of Billie Holiday's unforgettable and timeless memoir. Updated with photos and with an insightful introduction and a revised discography, both written by celebrated music writer David Ritz.

Lady Sings the Blues is the fiercely honest, no-holds-barred autobiography of Billie Holiday, the legendary jazz, swing, and standards singing sensation. Taking the reader on a fast-moving journey from Holiday's rough-and-tumble Baltimore childhood (where she ran errands at a whorehouse in exchange for the chance to listen to Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith albums), to her emergence on Harlem's club scene, to sold-out performances with the Count Basie Orchestra and with Artie Shaw and his band, this revelatory memoir is notable for its trenchant observations on the racism that darkened Billie' s life and the heroin addiction that ended it too soon. We are with her during the mesmerizing debut of "Strange Fruit"; with her as she rubs shoulders with the biggest movie stars and musicians of the day (Bob Hope, Lana Turner, Clark Gable, Benny Goodman, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, and more); and with her through the scrapes with Jim Crow, spats with Sarah Vaughan, ignominious jailings, and tragic decline. All of this is told in Holiday's tart, streetwise style and hip patois that makes it read as if it were written yesterday.
Publisher: New York : Broadway Books, 2006, c1956.
Edition: 50th anniversary ed.
ISBN: 9780767923866
Branch Call Number: BIO HOLIDAY B. Holiday 2006
Characteristics: xv, 231 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill. ;,21 cm. +,1 CD (4 3/4 in.)
Additional Contributors: Dufty, William


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Jun 12, 2013

As a jazz lover, I was interested in reading a book about one of my favorite jazz singers, Billie Holiday. I have to say, this book was very impressive. We all see Billie Holiday as this amazing singer who has everything going for her, but this book showed me her past and gave me a bit of an insight as to what inspired her to write those songs. In this book the famous jazz artist, Billie Holiday shares her past experiences in her own bold words. This book was very emotional, and I wasn’t expecting it to be a sad story about a girl who worked hard but had so many troubles. I love that this book showed Billie Holiday as the brave, independent woman she is. Even though she had raw experiences with love, she is still willing to open up her heart once more. And now I kind of realize why some of her songs, have this sad, depressing feel to it. Lady sings the blues is an excellent title because Billie mainly sings blues, due to her past. Overall, I found this read very captivating as well as deeply emotional and I recommend it to anyone interested in African American history, or even just a jazz fan. The descriptions in this book were so vivid and emotional, just like her music is. Billie’s world in this book is painful, dark, tragic but also hopeful. Her memoir is raw, honest and gritty and that is what I liked most. It was almost like she didn’t care if people didn’t like her story; she just wanted the real story, out there. The real Billie Holiday, not some sugar coated version that would have people wishing of her life.


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