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Billie Holiday Bio

Billie HolidayBillie Holiday (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), born Eleanora Fagan and later nicknamed Lady Day , was an American jazz singer, a seminal influence on jazz and pop singers, and generally regarded as one of the greatest female jazz vocalists.

Billie Holiday had a difficult childhood, which greatly affected her life and career. Much of her childhood is clouded by conjecture and legend, some of it propagated by her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, published in 1956. This account is known to contain many inaccuracies.


"I'm always making a comeback but nobody ever tells me where I've been." ~ Billie Holiday

Her professional pseudonym was taken from Billie Dove, an actress she admired, and Clarence Holiday, her probable father. At the outset of her career, she spelled her last name "Halliday," presumably to distance herself from her neglectful father, but eventually changed it back to "Holiday."¹


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