Billie Holiday

If your feet are firmly planted on the ground you’ll never be able to dance.” – Iris Johansen

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Needlepoint of Billie Holiday

Happy Birthday Billy Holiday, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania April 7, 1915. Billie grew up in poverty and dropped out of school in the fifth grade. She first heard jazz records at a brothel in Baltimore where she ran errands and scrubbed the floor as a young girl. When she was 12, she moved to Harlem with her mother.

Billie wanted to be a dancer, but when she couldn’t find work at local clubs, she tried her hand at singing. Her breakthrough came in 1933 when she was discovered by jazz producer John Hammond. By the early ’30s, she was touring with jazz legends like Count Basie and Lester Young, and by the 1940s she was being called the greatest jazz singer of all time.

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About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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