Essay on Billie Holiday

Essay on Billie Holiday

Length: 2150 words (6.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Billie Holiday


Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
but spent most of her poverty stricken childhood in Baltimore. Lady Day, as she was named by
Lester Young, had to overcome many tragedies in her lifetime and yet still became one of the
most popular jazz-blues vocalists of all time.
     Billie's Parents, Sally Fagan and Clarence Holiday, were both born in Baltimore. They
married as teens and soon Sally gave birth to Eleanora Fagan. Shortly after the birth, Clarence
Holiday deserted his family to tour with Fletcher Henderson's band. Billie saw little of her
immediate family and she essentially grew up alone, feeling unloved and gaining a lifelong
inferiority complex that led to her taking great risks with her personal life. At age ten Billie was
victimized in a violent rape. When older she worked at a brothel were she cleaned the floors, it
was here that she first listened to the likes of Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith.

     In 1927 she moved to New York City and not knowing any other life she made a living
prostituting herself. She still kept her dream of someday becoming a singer and eventually
convinced the manager of a small nightclub in the city to let her sing a few songs with the house
band. The crowd loved her singing and she was soon discovered by John Hammond. He arranged
for her to record a couple of titles with Benny Goodman in 1933. Although those were not all
that successful, it was the start of her career.
     In 1935 she meet up with a pianist named Teddy Wilson, who was in a pick up band. She
traveled with the band for a while and hit it off. People were beginning to learn about a great
singer who had a fresh new style that was a combination of Louis Armstrong's swinging and
Bessie Smith's sound. Over the next seven years she would go on to record some of the greatest
songs of her career. Lady Day was with Count Basie's Orchestra during much of 1937 but, she
was soon kicked out by Count Basie for trying to be too "independent and temperamental." Later
Lester Young and Buck Clayton began recording with Holiday and the music that the three of
them made was timeless. She worked with Artie Shaw's Orchestra for a time in 1938 but still
some problems existed, only one song was recorded and she had to deal with racism, not only
during a Southern tour but in Ne...


... middle of paper ...


...954 with Buddy DeFranco, Red Norvo, Jimmy Kiney, Sonny Clark
with the first piano solo, Beryl Booker with the second piano solo, Red Mitchell on bass, and
Elaine Leighton on drums. It started off with an incredible beat, the guitar, piano and the
trumpets were just painting a great piece. When Billie started singing you could tell that she was
feeling every word that came out of her mouth. The song spoke of the rotten men that she has
know and what really makes a good man, which was something she knew a lot about. One of my
favorite parts of the entire song was the trumpet solo, the trumpet in this song really made you
feel what Lady Day was singing about. The song was already swinging but with a solo like that it
just made you tilt back your head and want to snap your fingers to the beat.
     

Bibliography

Gourse, Leslie. Billie Holiday: The Tragedy and Triumph of A Lady. Donbury, Connecticut:
Franklin Watts. 1995.

Groothius, Neal. The Unofficial Billie Holiday Website. Bellsouth.net search engine.
http://users.bart.nl/~ecduzit/billie.htm

Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 1999. Holiday, Billie Article. Version 8.29.00.0912. Microsoft
Corporation 1993-1998

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Billie Holiday: A Brief Biography Essay

- Billie Holiday was an African-American jazz singer and songwriter.Billie Holiday was the biological child of Sadie Fagan and Clarence Holiday. Sadie was thirteen when she had Billie. At the same time, Clarence was an irresponsible father who did not care about his daughter's Billie. From Billie's early life, she grew up in a broken family. In other word, she had no father to support throughout her childhood and her mother who was struggling financially as a teen mom that often neglect the time to take care of Billie....   [tags: African American music]

Strong Essays
948 words (2.7 pages)

Ella Fitzgerald And Billie Holiday Essay

- Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday were both prominent jazz singer-songwriters during the same time and masters in their own right, but their worlds could not have been further apart. In 1939, while they were both in the midst of experiencing mainstream success, Ella was touring with Ella and her Famous Orchestra and showcasing her perfect pitch and tone to the world while singing songs that would soon become standards to fellow singers and musicians. Billie was singing solo, comfortable with her limited range, and gaining the adoration of audiences nationwide who loved her soulful voice....   [tags: Louis Armstrong, Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, Blues]

Strong Essays
710 words (2 pages)

Billie Holiday Essay

- Billie Holiday, whose real name is Eleanora Gough, was born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania in 1915. She grew up mostly in Baltimore and always loved jazz. Billie was born to very young parents. Her mother was thirteen when she was born and her father just fifteen. (www.numberonestars.com, 2010) Her father made his living as a jazz musician and later he left Billie’s mother. Billie was raised by her mother and grandparents. Billie was not a happy child and eventually left school at an early age....   [tags: Music, Jazz]

Strong Essays
1114 words (3.2 pages)

Billie Holiday Essay

- Billie Holiday was an African-American and she was born in April, 7, 1915 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She had no formal music education when she was step into the stage of the club platform to sing. She had an amazing voice and several producers appreciated her talents and promoted her to become a recognition jazz singer. Her addiction of drugs and alcohol ultimately damaged her liver and heart. She was pledged to guilty in court when the police found a possession of an illegal substance in her New York City apartment....   [tags: biography, music, ]

Strong Essays
1089 words (3.1 pages)

Billie Holiday Essay

- Many jazz artists as we know it are quite talented. Their talents are unique in that they can translate human emotion through singing or playing their instruments. Many have the ability to reach and touch people’s souls through their amazing gifts. Although this art of turning notes and lyrics into emotional imagery may somewhat come natural, the audience must wonder where their influence comes from. For Billie Holiday, her career was highly influenced by personal experience, the effects of the Great Depression, and the racial challenges of African Americans during her time. The Great Depression was a major historical event that affected thousands of Americans during the 1930s....   [tags: Musicians ]

Strong Essays
1345 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Billie Holiday

- Billie Holiday Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but spent most of her poverty stricken childhood in Baltimore. Lady Day, as she was named by Lester Young, had to overcome many tragedies in her lifetime and yet still became one of the most popular jazz-blues vocalists of all time.      Billie's Parents, Sally Fagan and Clarence Holiday, were both born in Baltimore. They married as teens and soon Sally gave birth to Eleanora Fagan. Shortly after the birth, Clarence Holiday deserted his family to tour with Fletcher Henderson's band....   [tags: Music Holiday Biographies Essays]

Strong Essays
2150 words (6.1 pages)

The Many Faces of Billie Holiday Essay

- The Many Faces of Billie Holiday The movie Lady Day: The Many Faces Of Billie Holiday paints an interesting, and thought provoking portrait of one of jazz and blues most charismatic, and influential artists. The incomparable talent of Billie Holiday, both truth and legend are immortalized in this one-hour documentary film. The film follows Holiday, also referred to as “Lady Day” or “Lady”, through the many triumphs and trials of her career, and does it’s very best to separate the facts from fiction....   [tags: Free Essays]

Free Essays
400 words (1.1 pages)

The Voice of Billie Holiday Essay

- The Voice of Billie Holiday       A woman stands before you, and although she isn't a politician, she expresses her moving thoughts on issues that affect all Americans. Her voice isn't harsh or demanding in tone. Her stature is slender and traced in a shimmer of light that reflects from her dress. A southern magnolia is lying comfortably above her ear. She sings. She sings of incomprehension, of hate, and of a race's pain. She sings low and confused. She sings as "Our Lady of Sorrow"(Davis 1), a representation of a whole people torn and discriminated against.  And though her speech is not spoken, she moves a crowd, one that gathers into many....   [tags: Exploratory Essays Research Papers]

Strong Essays
1508 words (4.3 pages)

Billie Holiday Essay

- To understand the controversy that Billie presented one must first go to the root or source of such controversy and examine Billie's childhood. Billie was born Eleanora Harris to her father Clarence Holiday and mother Sadie Fagan who were just fifteen and thirteen years old, respectively, at the time (A 91). Born between 1912 and 1915 in Baltimore, the date unsure, Billie grew up without her father, who moved away early on in her life. Billie and her mother used to fight a lot, when her mother was around....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
650 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on Billie Holiday

- Billie was born to the name, Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915. She was born in Philadelphia but grew up in the Fell's Point section of Baltimore. Her mother, was just 13 at the time of her birth; her father, was 15. Holidays' teenage parents, Sadie Harris (aka Fagan) and probable father, Clarence Holiday, never married, and they did not live together for a long time. Clarence, a banjo and guitar player worked with Fletcher Henderson's band in the early 30s. He remains a shady figure who left his family....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
929 words (2.7 pages)