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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BILLIE HOLIDAYUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
Less-than-satisfying biography of a well-beloved jazz singer, despite some interesting musical analysis. Nicholson (Ella Fitzgerald, 1994) has uncovered birth certificates, court documents, and ... Read full review
Billie HolidayUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
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 ... Read full review