Jazz Music

God Bless The Child - Billie Holiday (1941)

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"God Bless The Child" is a song written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr. in 1939, first recorded on May 9, 1941 in New York City by Holiday under the OKeh label. She recorded the song with Eddie Heywood and His Orchestra with Roy Eldridge and Ernie Powell on trumpet, Jimmy Powell and Lester Boone on alto saxophone, Eddie Heywood on piano, Paul Chapman on guitar), Grachan Moncur II on bass, and Herbert Cowans on drums. Holiday's version of the song was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1976. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. In her autobiography 'Lady Sings The Blues', Holiday indicated an argument with her mother over money led to the song. She indicated that during the argument she said the line "God bless the child that's got his own". The anger over the incident led her to turn that line into a starting point for a song, which she worked out in conjunction with Herzog. Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan, April 7, 1915 July 17, 1959) was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed 'Lady Day' by her loyal friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday was a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. Above all, she was admired for her deeply personal and intimate approach to singing. Critic John Bush once wrote that she "changed the art of American pop vocals forever". In 1987, Billie Holiday was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The United States Postal Service introduced a Billie Holiday postage stamp in 1994, she ranked #6 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Rock n' Roll in 1999, and she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Copyright 1941 OKeh/Columbia Records
All Rights Reserved

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