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About Billie Holiday
Born Eleanora Fagan, Billie Holiday took her stage name from actress Billie Dove and her father, musician Clarence Holiday.
∙ As a teenager in the early ’30s, Holiday honed her singing talents in Harlem nightclubs.
∙ Her recorded singing debut came on two songs released by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, one of which, “Riffin’ the Scotch,” became a 1934 hit.
∙ In the late ’30s, she sang for big bands led by Count Basie and Artie Shaw.
∙ Released in 1939, her iconic protest song “Strange Fruit” sold more than 1 million copies and became Holiday’s best-known work.
∙ On Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra’s chart-topping 1942 R&B hit “Trav’lin’ Light,” Holiday is credited as Lady Day because she was then under contract at another label.
∙ She had major pop crossover success after signing to Decca Records and releasing the 1945 hit “Lover Man.”
∙ In 2000, she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
- Philadelphia, PA
- Apr 7, 1915
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