★ American jazz musician and singer, Billie Holiday, was born on this day in 1915. Famous for her unique vocal style and sense of tempo, she captivated audiences everywhere from the nightclubs of Harlem to a sold-out Carnegie Hall, and worked with many famous names including Count Basie, Artie Shaw and Louis Armstrong. A highly successful performer during the 1930s, 40s and 50s, she had a seminal influence upon jazz music and singing, and influenced the likes of Frank Sinatra, who stated she was his “greatest single musical influence”. Despite her talent and enormous success, Holiday’s life was beset by a string of abusive relationships, legal problems, financial troubles, and drug and alcohol abuse. She died of cirrhosis of the liver on 17th July 1959, aged just 44.
Photographed by William P. Gottlieb, she’s seen here performing at the Downbeat Club in New York City, February 1947.