"Lady day" as she became known as after meeting Lester Young. During this 1930s time period, African Americans were being lynched. At the time, Billie Holiday was signed to Columbia records, and at some point she came across a poem titled " Bitter Fruit," a poem about the lynching of a black man. Billie fell in love with this emotional piece. She had her heart set on recording it as a song, but she was shut down by her label, but her resolve was too strong. A label named Commodore gave her the opportunity to record with them alternatively. The author of the poem set the poem to music himself re-titling it "Strange Fruit." The song itself was very controversial. Whenever she performed this song the clubs had rules about the song because it was so influential. One, the song had to be the last song of the night. Two, all service was to end before the song was about to be sung. Three, complete darkness, except for the spotlight that would shine only on Billie's face. This song itself became one of the most important reasons why Billie Holiday is one of the most influential jazz singers of all time.
Diana Ross was influenced by Billie Holiday, which she portrayed in the biopic "Lady Sings the Blues." Diana Ross did the honors for Billie's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Billie passed away from heart failure which caused congestion of the lungs. She passed at the age of 44 on July 17th in 1959 in a hospital in which she had been arrested and confined to 5 days before for illegal possession of narcotics.
Billy Holiday Sings/ Solitude
In 1952, Billie Holiday released her very first album "Billie Holiday sings" with Clef Records. Four years later, with a label called Verve Records, The album was reissued and re-titled Solitude. for release, she recorded four new songs.