On This Day

Billie Holiday

Jazz Musician Billie Holiday

Full Name: Eleanora Fagan
Profession: Jazz Musician

United States of America

Biography: Nicknamed "Lady Day", Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing.

Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo.

Born: April 7, 1915
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Rabbit
Star Sign: Aries

Died: July 17, 1959 (aged 44)
Cause of Death: Complications from cirrhosis of the liver

Married Life

  • 1941-08-25 Jazz musician Billie Holiday (26) weds trombonist Jimmy Monroe; divorced 1947
  • 1957-03-28 Jazz musician Billie Holiday (41) weds mob enforcer Louis McKay

Historical Events

  • 1929-05-02 Billie Holiday (14) and her mother are arrested for prostitution following a raid of a brothel in Harlem
  • 1933-11-11 Billie Holiday's second song and first hit, "Riffin' the Scotch", is released
  • 1944-01-18 The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City hosts a jazz concert for the first time - performers include Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Lionel Hampton, Mildred Bailey, Red Norvo, Roy Eldridge, Jack Teagarden, and Benny Goodman, via remote hook-up.
  • 1947-05-16 Billie Holiday is arrested in her New York apartment for possession of narcotics
  • 1948-03-16 Billie Holiday is released from prison early due to good behavior
  • 1948-03-27 Just 11 days after being released from prison, Billie Holiday plays in front of a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall
  • 1957-12-08 CBS broadcasts "The Sound of Jazz", live from NYC: an all-star program featuring swing era and contemporary jazz artists, including Count Basie, Red Allen, Ben Webster;, Thelonious Monk, and Gerry Mulligan;, highlight is the last collaboration of Billie Holiday and Lester Young on "Fine and Mellow"
  • 2000-03-06 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees: Eric Clapton; Earth, Wind, and Fire; Lovin' Spoonful; The Moonglows; Bonnie Raitt; James Taylor; Nat King Cole; Billie Holiday; Hal Blaine; "King" Curtis; James Jamerson; Scotty Moore; Earl Palmer; and Clive Davis
  • 2014-06-08 Audra McDonald wins a Tony for her portrayal of Billie Holiday inĀ "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar And Grill"

Quotes by Billie Holiday

  • "You've got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body's sermon on how to behave."

Biographies and Sources