The Story of a Song Bird
Honors English 9
March 16, 2009
Abandoned at an early age, she was a rather uneducated individual. Billie Holiday was a famous Jazz singer in the 1940’s. She was born as Elenora Fagen in the 1920’s to a poor family in Baltimore. Being born into a poor family, Elenora had very few opportunities. Out of the distress of her child hood came a magnificent musician. In the course of only a few years, Elenora recorded over 100 records. Billie Holiday is an influential African American because through her childhood hardships came a magnificent singer but with some very noticeable draws to criminal mind.
It’s the mid 1920’s and baby Eleanora Fagen was born. At this point in time it was not uncommon to be born into a poor family, and that is exactly what happened. Eleanora Fagen was born into a poor family, in which her parents were not married in Baltimore, Maryland. She was young when disaster first struck in her life. Her father abandoned her and her mother to play guitar in a band with Fletcher Henderson (Yanow Scott). This personally is what I think is what aroused her interest in music.
Singing is a tough business even today. Eleanora learned that first hand in the early twentieth century. She had started her career as a singer in an African American Orchestra. Slowly she progressed to become one of the first African American women to sing in an all white orchestra (The Official Website of Lady Day). In 1937, Eleanora performed with the Count Basies Orchestra for the majority of that year. As 1938 rolled around, she had moved orchestras yet again. Now she was singing with the musical accompaniment of the Artie Shows Orchestra. Her career was booming, but in 1940-1942, her audience noticed a small change in her performance. Her backup singers’ roles were almost as noticeable as her own (Yanow Scott).
While her career was very successful, much was done to over come the obstacles. A very big hit on her public reputation was the very...