BOOKS & DVD'S
The following is a comprehensive list of Billie Holiday in the printed word, courtesy of writer/broadcaster Ian Clayton.
Billie Holiday with William Dufty, (1956) Lady Sings the Blues; Doubleday.
The notorious autobiography on which the film of the same name is loosely based.
John Szwed, (2016) Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth; Penguin Books. Offers a portrait of Lady Day as artist and mythmaker rather than tragic victim.
John Chilton, (1975) Billie's Blues; Quartet. Well researched hard facts about Billie’s recording career.
Chris Ingham, (2000) Billie Holiday; Unanimous. An entry in the “Diva’s” series.
David Margolick, (2000) Strange Fruit; Running Press. The impact of “Café Society and an early cry for human rights.
Bud Kliment, (1990) Billie Holiday-Singer; Chelsea House. Black Americans of achievement series.
Leslie Gourse, (1997) Billie Holiday Companion; Schirmer. Compilation of various, mostly hard to find writings on Billie.
John White, (1987) Billie Holiday: Her Life and Times; Spellmount. Larger format book in “Jazz Lifetimes” series.
Leslie Gourse, (1995) Billie Holiday - The tragedy and triumph of Lady Day.; Franklin Watts.
Stuart Nicholson, (1995) Billie Holiday; Victor Gollancz. A model of biographical writing, much previously unknown material.
Michel Fontanes, (1999) Billie et Paris; Editions Rive Droite. Thoroughly researched chronicle of Billies time in Paris 1954 and 1958. English translation available.
Marc-Edouard Nabe, (1986) L‘âme de Billie Holiday; L’infini Denoël. Novel, not published in English.
Farah Jasmin Griffin, (2001) If You Can't Be Free, Be A Mystery; The Free Press. A groundbreaking study that confronts the myths.
Robert O’Meally, (1991) Lady Day, The Many Faces of Billie Holiday; Arcade. Superbly illustrated; scholarly and enlightened.
Donald Clarke, (1994) Wishing On the Moon; Viking Penguin. A near definite account.
Burnett James, (1984) Billie Holiday; Spellmount/Hippocrene. Small Format, An introduction in the Jazz Masters series.
Melvin Maddocks, (1979) Billie Holiday (Giants of Jazz); Time Life. Biography to accompany a Time Life record set.
Ken Vail, (1996) Lady Day’s Diary; Castle. A month by month Chronology of Lady’s career.
Paola Boncompagni, (1992) Lady Day Life and Songs; Nuovi Equilibri. Small format book to accompany mini CD from Italy.
Julia Blackburn, (2005) With Billie; Jonathan Cape. A well constructed book, uses interviews undertaken by Linda Kuehl in the 1970’s.
Magdalena Alagna, (2003) Billie Holiday (Rock & Roll Hall of Famers); Rosen. An entry in the “rock and roll hall of famers” series, introduction for teenagers.
Alain Gerber, (2005) Lady Day, Histoires d’Amour; Fayard. A novel about Billie in French.
Danièle Robert, (1995) Les Chants de l’Aube de Lady Day; Le Temps Qu’Il Faut. A novel about Billie’s life in French.
Sylvia Fol, (2006) Billie Holiday; Folio. A complete book in French of Billie’s life with several insights on Billie's ambiguous sexuality.
Eric Hobsbawm, (1998) Uncommon People, Rebellion and Jazz; Wiedenfield and Nicholson. Includes an obituary of Billie.
Françoise Sagan, (1984) Avec Mon Meilleur Souvenir; Folio. In english "With Fondest Regards” (1998) Alison and Busby, affectionate and candid tribute.
Angela Y. Davies, (1999) Blues Legacies, Black Feminism; Vintage. Scholarly research into the sociology of blues and jazz from female standpoint.
Robyn Archer & Diane Symonds, (1986) A Star is Torn; Virago. An anthology of various women singers, part of a stageshow.
Burnett James, (1964) Essays on Jazz; Jazz Book Club. An essay called "Billie Holiday and the Art of Communication."
Bennu Green, (1964) The Reluctant Art; Jazz Book Club. A forty page essay called "Billie Holiday."
Martin T. Williams, (1962) The Art of Jazz; Jazz Book Club. Essay entitled "Billie Holiday" by Glen Coulter.
Martin T. Williams, (1965) Jazz Panorama; Jazz Book Club. Another essay by Glen Coulter, reviewing Billie records.
Leonard Feather, (1974) From Satchmo to Miles; Stein and Day. Personal stories from the great jazz writer.
Martin Williams, (1983) The Jazz Tradition; Oxford Univ. Press. An essay entitled: "Actress without an act."
Max Jones, (1987) Talking Jazz; McMillan Press. Adventures involving the writer and Billie on tour in England 1954.
Roy Carr, (1999) Jazz Singers; Hamlyn. Glossy, large format introduction to jazz vocalists.
Francis Davis, (1990) Outcats; Oxford Univ. Press. Essays on jazz people including "The Man Who Danced with Billie Holiday."
Will Friedwald, (1991) Jazz Singing; Quartet. Superb book, essay called "Lady Day and Lady Time."
Hettie Jones, (1974) Big Star Fallin' Mama; Viking. Warm portraits of five singers including Billie.
Henry Pleasants, (1974) The Great American Popular Singers; Victor Gollancz. A wonderful survey of vocal art.
Kitty Grime, (1983) Jazz Voices; Quartet. A patchwork of interviews with jazz people, a chapter about Billie.
Studs Terkel, (1957) Giants of Jazz; The New Press. A series of beautifully observed portraits, chapter on Billie "God Bless The Child."
Carol Boston, (2009) Becoming Billie Holiday; Weatherford. Award-winning poet and professor excellent book—a fictional verse memoir.
Maya Angelou, (1986) The Heart of a Woman; Virago. Fourth volume of the great black writer's autobiography.
Jeremy Reed, (1999) Angels Divas and Black Listed Heroes; Peter Owen. A challenging series of essays by poet and novelist.
Leslie Gourse, (1995) Madame Jazz; Oxford Univ. Press. The history of women in Jazz.
Sally Placksin, (1985) Jazz Women, 1900 to the Present; Pluto. Words, lives and music of nearly a century of jazz women.
Leslie Gourse, (1984) Louis’ Children American Jazz Singers; Quill. A comprehensive overview of the Louis Armstrong legacy.
Harry Shapiro, (1988) Waiting for the Man; Quartet. Drugs and their links to popular music.
Arnold Shaw, (1977) 52nd Street: The Street of Jazz; Da Capo. Originally published as "The Street That Never Slept," a slice of jazz nightlife.
Buck Clayton, (1986) Buck Clayton’s Jazz World; McMillan. Story of the great trumpeter and Billie accompanist.
Ted Fox, (1985) Show Time at the Apollo; Quartet. A survey of 50 years of the great Harlem theatre.
William P. Gottleib, (1995) The Golden Age of Jazz; Pomegranate. A nostalgic look back to the 1930’s and 40’s.
Charles Fox & Valerie Wilmer, (1971) The Jazz Scene; Hamlyn. A nicely illustrated overview.
Joachim Berendt, (1984) The Jazz Book (Revised Edition); Paladin. One of the truly great jazz histories.
Geoffrey C. Ward & Ken Burns, (2000) Jazz, A History of America’s Music; Pimlico. Excellent research, beautifully illustrated tie in to TV series.
Teddy Wilson, A. Lightart, H. Van Loo, (1996) Teddy Wilson Talks Jazz; Cassell. A candid account account of Wilson’s life and career.
Arnold Shaw, (1986) Black Popular Music in America; Schirmer. Comprehensive and well researched.
John Chilton, (1979) Jazz; Hodder and Stoughton. Intro to history and practice of jazz music, best of this type.
Whitney Balliet, (1964) Dinosaurs in the Morning; J. Dent. Essays by the New York Times Jazz critic.
Stanley Dance, (1974) The World of Swing; Scribners. A chronicle of the big band era.
Philip Larkin, (1970) All What Jazz; Faber. Criticism and record reviews by famous English poet.
Cynthia Palmer & Michael Horowitz, (2000) Sisters of the Extreme; Park St. Press. Women writing about their drug experience.
John Wieners, (1996) 707 Scott St.; Sun and Moon. Poetry and prose dedicated to Billie.
Anne Grifalconi, (1999) Tinny’s Hat; Harper Collins. For children, a young girl wears her musician father’s hat.
Robert Somma, (1973) No One Waved Goodbye; Charisma. Includes the poem "The Day Lady Day Died (Lunch Poems 1963).
Alexis De Veaux, (1988) Don’t Explain; Writers and Readers. A prose poem in tribute to Billie.
Carlos Sampayo & Jose Munoz, (1993) Billie Holiday; Fantagraphics Books. Imaginative stuff, a graphic novel.
Elisabeth Hardwick, (1979) Sleepless Nights; Random House. A stunning novel, taking in memory, affection and Billie Holiday in Harlem.
Jeremy Reed, (2001) Saint Billie; Enitharmon Press. An anthology that captures the drama of Billie’s life and the jazz age.
Leonard Feather, (1960) The Encyclopeadia of Jazz; Arthur Baker. One of the first in the field and still very reliable.
John Chilton, (1970) Who’s Who of Jazz; Bloomsbury. Obsessively comprehensive.
David Meeker, (1981) Jazz in the Movies; Talisman. Indispensable guide to jazz on film, includes all of Billie appearances plus TV.
John Fordham, (1993) Jazz; Dorling Kindersley. History, instruments, musicians, recordings, a connoisseur’s book.
Ian Carr, D. Fairweather, B. Priestlet, (1987) Jazz Essential Companion; Grafton. Homage to jazz musicians everywhere.
Richard Cook, Brian Morton, (1992) Pengin Guide to Jazz on CD, LP and Cassette; Penguin. Definitive reference work with criticism of all available recordings.
Roy Carr, (1998) A Century of Jazz; Hamlyn. Beautifully illustrated celebration of jazz history.
Brian Case, S. Britt, C. Murray, (1986) Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz; Salamender. For the buff or the new fan.
Barry MaCrae, (1987) The Jazz Handbook; Longman. Practical, easy to use and insightful.
Jack Millar, (1979) Born to Swing; JazzMedia (Denmark). A model for all discographical writing. Updated by Jack Millar until his death in 1999.