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2000 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

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  • Year:
    2000
  • Inducted by:
    Diana Ross (The Supremes)
  • Category:
    Early Influences
billie_holiday

Hall of Fame Essay

2000

Ariel Swartley

Billie Holiday didn’t just sing a song, she took possession of it. 

And she repossessed it every time she sang. From the begin­ning, even in 1933 when she was eighteen, recording for the first time (with Benny Goodman), and “scared half to death” by the big studio microphone, she liked to move in slowly. 

She would feel out the bones of a tune, lift up a lyric (something as mundane as “out of the frying pan”), shake it out, then smooth the words like a glove over the con­tours of her own heartache. 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program 2000
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Billie Holiday_quote

Lady Day, such an original, so authentic, no one like her.

Diana Ross

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