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Publisher Description

Originally released by Doubleday in 1956, Harlem Moon Classics celebrates the publication with the fiftieth-anniversary edition of Billie Holiday’s unforgettable and timeless memoir, updated with an insightful introduction and a revised discography, both written by celebrated music writer David Ritz.

Lady Sings the Blues is the fiercely honest, no-holds-barred autobiography of Billie Holiday, the legendary jazz, swing, and standards singing sensation. Taking the reader on a fast-moving journey from Holiday’s rough-and-tumble Baltimore childhood (where she ran errands at a whorehouse in exchange for the chance to listen to Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith albums), to her emergence on Harlem’s club scene, to sold-out performances with the Count Basie Orchestra and with Artie Shaw and his band, this revelatory memoir is notable for its trenchant observations on the racism that darkened Billie’s life and the heroin addiction that ended it too soon. We are with her during the mesmerizing debut of “Strange Fruit”; with her as she rubs shoulders with the biggest movie stars and musicians of the day (Bob Hope, Lana Turner, Clark Gable, Benny Goodman, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, and more); and with her through the scrapes with Jim Crow, spats with Sarah Vaughan, ignominious jailings, and tragic decline. All of this is told in Holiday’s tart, streetwise style and hip patois that makes it read as if it were written yesterday.

Biographies & Memoirs
July 25
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

LC08 ,

Lady sings the blues

Billie's often tragic story, in her own voice. Fast paced and emotionally involving while remaining conversational in tone, this is the next best thing to pulling up a barstool and hearing about the trials and triumphs from Lady Day herself. A must read for anyone interested in music 1930s/40s culture, or black history.

Beingfreejust4me ,

I love this book

I first read this in paper back form well over 20 years ago it's as magical and as soothing to me now as it was then. Yea historians say she stretched the truth here and their but to me this is how she wished to be remembered and who really can complain about that?

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