Billie Holiday, 1949 – 52 Radio And TV Broadcasts
Unbelievably, Billie Holiday happened into her singing career. It was in the midst of the Depression, and she'd tried getting work scrubbing floors. No luck. She tried auditioning to be a dancer at a club but knew only one step. No good. But at that audition, the piano player asked her if she could sing, and she lied and said she could. She was desperate to earn some money, after all. Only it wasn't a lie. Holiday was one of the finest — some would say the finest — jazz singers ever, and certainly one of the most influential, even to this day (jazz singer Madeline Peyroux and quirky R&B artist Macy Gray come to mind). There are countless best-of Billie Holiday compilations to be savored, but don't overlook this scratchy set of radio broadcasts. It features the swinging "Miss Brown to You," with Lady Day deploying an extra-light touch and an audience responding with deservedly rapturous applause.