A family friend called Betty Jones, wife of the esteemed jazz writer Max, was with her when they went into Marks and Spencer. Holiday picked out some pyjamas and went to the counter to pay. The strait-laced sales assistant was shocked to see a year-old black woman haul up her skirt and produce a roll of banknotes from the top of her stocking. Holiday was a true one-off: a wild, outspoken and forceful woman, who also happened to be one of the greatest singers that ever lived. She had been under arrest in her hospital bed for the previous five weeks. She was weak, underweight, bed-ridden and trying to fight off heart and liver failure problems at a time when police found a small tinfoil envelope containing heroin in a different part of the room. It was widely suspected that the drugs had been planted. She was interrogated by narcotics detectives.
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Eleanora Fagan April 7, — July 17, , professionally known as Billie Holiday , was an American jazz and swing music singer with a career spanning for 26 years. Nicknamed " Lady Day " by her friend and music partner Lester Young , Holiday had an innovative influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills. After a turbulent childhood, Holiday began singing in nightclubs in Harlem , where she was heard by the producer John Hammond , who commended her voice. She signed a recording contract with Brunswick in
Eleanora her preferred spelling Harris was the daughter of Clarence Holiday, a professional musician who for a time played guitar with the Fletcher Henderson band. In she moved with her mother from Baltimore , Maryland where she had spent her childhood , to New York City, and after three years of subsisting by various means, she found a job singing in a Harlem nightclub. She had had no formal musical training, but, with an instinctive sense of musical structure and with a wealth of experience gathered at the root level of jazz and blues , she developed a singing style that was deeply moving and individual. In Holiday made her first recordings, with Benny Goodman and others. About she began to perform exclusively in cabarets and in concert. Her recordings between and marked her peak years. In Holiday was arrested for a narcotics violation and spent a year in a rehabilitation centre. She continued to perform in concert and in clubs outside of New York City, and she made several tours during her later years. Her constant struggle with heroin addiction ravaged her voice, although not her technique. In she wrote an autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues with William Dufty , that was made into a motion picture starring Diana Ross in