The jazz singer Eleanora Fagan, known professionally as Billie Holiday, was born on this day in 1915.
A young Holiday began singing along with records of such jazz legends as Louis Armstrong before transitioning to nightclubs in Harlem in her teens. Despite her lack of formal training, Holiday had an instinctive grasp of music and an incredible voice. By the time she was eighteen, she had been noticed by producer John Hammond and was making her first recordings, debuting on a song with Benny Goodman.
Over her thirty-year career and in the years to follow, she has become one of the best-regarded jazz singers of all time.
Today’s a good day to spin your favorite of her songs, or, if you’re unfamiliar with her, try something new out!