April 7, 1915: Birth of Billie Holiday

Born in Baltimore as Eleanora Fagan… Her autobiography “Lady Sings the Blues” begins: “Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was 18, she was 16 and I was 3″… Dirt-poor, raped at 11, moved with mother, Sadie, to New York, where both worked in a whorehouse… Began early to entertain in Harlem hangouts, influenced by Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith… Taken up by big bands, black and white (Benny Goodman, Count Basie), she toured for years… Lived more or less regularly with Sadie, on whom she doted, until Sadie died in 1945, leaving her bereft and with no further firm attachment… Slept around, misused by lovers, managers and two husbands, most of whom drained her financially and morally, in return for which she was left with drugs and drink… Affairs with Benny Goodman, Tallulah Bankhead, Marlene Dietrich… Didn’t read, attend theater or listen to classical music. . .

Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
Then that’s got shall get
Them that’s not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own
Yes, the strong gets more
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets don’t ever make the grade
Mama may have, papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own …
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp9yj5hcWUY

Billie Holiday – God Bless The Child (1955) – A rendition of her classic in her later years, from the Lady In Autumn compilation.
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