Category: Holiday, Billie

Billie Holiday 1951 interview for CBC Radio

Today, a rarely heard gem: Billie Holiday interviewed in 1951 for the CBC by Dick MacDougall. This is a great piece of history; it’s very interesting to hear Holiday later in her short life both reflecting and looking ahead. From the intro:

Holiday rode a roller coaster life of intoxicating highs and bitter lows all packed into 44 short years. By the time she arrived in Toronto and sat down for an interview with veteran CBC broadcaster Dick MacDougall in 1951, her career was well into its decline. She was only 36 but would never again see anything near the charting success or income generated by songs like her 1941 hit “God Bless the Child.”

With failing health, and lacking the coveted New York Cabaret Card that was rescinded after her drug convictions, Holiday went from selling out Carnegie Hall to performing in the casino of Toronto’s Colonial Tavern for no cover charge in only a few short years.  

This archival interview finds Holiday in a reflective mood, yet clearly hopeful for better things to come. MacDougall pulls out stories from Holiday’s past, including touring with the Basie band, and duking out her record label in order to record with Paul Whiteman. Her recent recording sessions with Oscar Peterson are discussed, as well as her aspirations to someday see Europe.

 Click here to listen to Billie Holiday 1951 interview for CBC Radio

Billie Holiday: I’ll Never Sing With A Dance Band Again

Downbeat put this online exclusive up on their site yesterday, and it is a classic. In this 1939 interview with Dave Dexter Jr, Lady Day speaks frankly on a number of subjects, including why she left the Artie Shaw and Count Basie bands and a funny story about Artie Shaw as Jesus Christ.

Click here to read Billie Holiday: I’ll Never Sing With A Dance Band Again