Billie Holiday would have been 97 on Saturday. Wikipedia has a particularly good bio of her sad life and its even sadder ending–broke, broken, addicted and about to be arrested. She was all of 44 years old. The particulars are different, but reading about Holiday led me to think of Amy Winehouse.
God Bless the Child is one of Holiday’s signatures. Other important Holiday songs are Ain’t Nobody’s Business, Fine and Mellow (here featuring Lester Young) and Strange Fruit, which is about lynching. A tune called The Blues are Brewin’ was less successful, but used in a nice video with Holiday alongside a young looking Louis Armstrong.
Here are two fun facts about Holiday: Her real name was Eleanora Fagan and she sometimes babysat Billy Crystal, whose father was in the music business.