"Lady Sings the Blues captures the tart voice and unflinching eye of [Billie Holiday] one of the most affecting and mythicized artists of the last century. The singer tells the story of her bruised life — a tale of teenage prostitution, racist indignities and abusive men, heroin addiction and heavy drinking, corrupt cops and jail time — without self-pity.
|First Edition (1956)|
Ghostwritten by the late newspaperman and author William Dufty, the father of San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Lady Sings the Blues was published three years before Holiday died in a New York hospital at age 44. Police officers were stationed at the door to her room. She was busted for drug possession as she lay dying. It was a ghastly end for a woman whose subtle artistry, with its rhythmic freedom and bare emotion, changed the sound of jazz and pop singing, and continues to seduce and move people who listen to her records….
|50th Anniversary Edition (2006)|
'Her voice, no matter how the Dufty/Holiday interviewing process went, is as real as rain,' wrote the noted ghostwriter David Ritz, who did autobiographies of Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and many other musicians, in the introduction to the new edition of Lady Sings the Blues. Despite the factual inaccuracies, 'in the mythopoetic sense,' Ritz says, Holiday's memoir 'is as true and poignant as any tune she ever sang. If her music was autobiographically true, her autobiography is musically true.'"
— Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle
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