Billie Holiday

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Overview

This compelling biography of Billie Holiday (1915-1959) provides a fresh and revealing portrait of one of the greatest jazz singers of all time. In the first work to separate fact from myth, Stuart Nicholson illuminates the complex details of Holiday's life, her artistry, and her musical legacy. Drawing on extensive interviews with those who knew and worked with Holiday, and on an exhaustive examination of newspaper accounts, court records, and FBI and police files, Nicholson uncovers a wealth of new information ...
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Overview

This compelling biography of Billie Holiday (1915-1959) provides a fresh and revealing portrait of one of the greatest jazz singers of all time. In the first work to separate fact from myth, Stuart Nicholson illuminates the complex details of Holiday's life, her artistry, and her musical legacy. Drawing on extensive interviews with those who knew and worked with Holiday, and on an exhaustive examination of newspaper accounts, court records, and FBI and police files, Nicholson uncovers a wealth of new information about Holiday's life and career. Included are her rape as an eleven-year-old, her battles with drug addiction and alcoholism, her arrest and imprisonment for heroin possession, her sex life, and her struggles against racial prejudice. Throughout his examination of Holiday's stormy life Nicholson weaves a revealing analysis of her performances and recordings. He traces the many strands of Holiday's career against the background of the mid-twentieth-century entertainment business and the day-to-day working environment of jazz musicians. The volume concludes with an authoritative discography by noted jazz historian Phil Schaap.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This chronicle of the brilliant jazz singer's troubled life is a "sensitive, perceptive biography," wrote PW. (July)
Library Journal
Holiday's legend is that of the archetypal tormented artist: enormously gifted in one specific area yet unable to cope with everyday life and eventually done in by her own excesses. Although the legend is basically true, the facts have been obscured by the popular 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues and Holiday's somewhat hazy autobiography of the same name. Nicholson attempts to set the record straight in this exhaustively researched book containing over 500 references, a 30-page discography, and five appendixes. The book is essentially divided into two partsthe years 1933 to 1942, when Holiday's association with Columbia established her as one of the greatest jazz singers of all time, and the remainder of her life as her involvement with heroin culminated in her death at age 44 in 1959. This scholarly look at one of the giants of American music is a worthy complement and counterpoint to Holiday's own account.Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.
Booknews
A revealing portrait of one of the great jazz singers, detailing Holiday's life, her artistry, and musical legacy. Draws on interviews with those who knew and worked with her, as well as newspaper accounts, court records, and FBI files, to offer new information on her battles with drug addiction, her struggles against racial prejudice, and her childhood. Includes b&w photos and a discography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555533038
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press
  • Publication date: 4/24/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 8.95 (h) x 1.04 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2003

    Finally a real writer!

    Kudos! The best book I have ever read on Billie Holiday, factual, consise well written. Most biographers have a hard time stepping out of themselves and their own illreveleant opions to be good but nichlson is great. A must read. And much better than that trash 'wishing on the moon' I reccomend anyone that is into Lady Day read this and enjoy. Its almost like being there!!!! I was floored, I read this in one day!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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