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Billie Holiday's Greatest Hits (Decca)


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Audio CD, June 6, 1995
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Billie Holiday's Greatest Hits (Decca) + The Best of Billie Holiday: 20th Century Masters (Millennium Collection) + Ultimate Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

There's no such thing as a genuine Billie Holiday greatest-hits collection--her career was split among too many labels for that--but this single-disc distillation of the Complete Decca Recordings 2 CD set (recorded between 1944 and 1950) is pretty solid. Holiday's in fine vocal form (though her accompaniment is undistinguished easy-listening stuff; the choir on "God Bless the Child" is a bit frustrating), and the songs are arranged to work as an album rather than chronologically. She transcends the ideas of torch songs, of blues, of ballad singing--her version of "Lover Man" exemplifies erotic despair, tormented and aroused at once--and even the lesser-known tracks here are pleasant surprises, like a Leonard Bernstein song. --Douglas Wolk

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Easy Living (Single Version)Billie Holiday 3:13$1.29  Buy MP3 
  2. What Is This Thing Called Love (Single Version)Billie Holiday 3:05$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. Solitude (Single Version)Billie Holiday 3:09$1.29  Buy MP3 
  4. You're My Thrill (Single Version)Billie Holiday 3:24$1.29  Buy MP3 
  5. Them There Eyes (Single Version)Billie Holiday 2:51$1.29  Buy MP3 
  6. No More (Single Version)Billie Holiday 2:47$1.29  Buy MP3 
  7. God Bless The Child (Single Version)Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra 3:10$1.29  Buy MP3 
  8. My Man (Single Version)Billie Holiday 2:57$1.29  Buy MP3 
  9. Don't Explain (Single Version)Billie Holiday 2:56$1.29  Buy MP3 
10. There Is No Greater Love (Single Version)Billie Holiday 2:58$1.29  Buy MP3 
11. Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do (Single Version)Billie Holiday 3:20$1.29  Buy MP3 
12. You Better Go Now (Single Version)Billie Holiday 2:36$1.29  Buy MP3 
13. Big StuffBillie Holiday 2:31$0.69  Buy MP3 
14. Good Morning, HeartacheBillie Holiday 3:07$1.29  Buy MP3 
15. Porgy (Single Version)Billie Holiday 2:56$1.29  Buy MP3 
16. GuiltyBillie Holiday 3:13$1.29  Buy MP3 
17. Lover Man (Single Version)Billie Holiday 3:18$1.29  Buy MP3 
18. Crazy He Calls Me (Single Version)Billie Holiday 3:06$1.29  Buy MP3 
19. That Ole Devil Called Love (Single Version)Billie Holiday 2:54$1.29  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 6, 1995)
  • Original Release Date: June 6, 1995
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca Jazz
  • ASIN: B000003N4D
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,084 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 12, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This album was my introduction to Lady Day, and what an intro. From the first slowly slinky phrases of 'Easy Living' there's hardly a duff moment. IMHO, the one misguided moment is the inclusion of a version of 'God Bless The Child' with a schmaltzy choir intro. If you can forgive that, there's plenty here to delight and seduce the vocal jazz newbie. 'Solitude' and 'Good Morning, Heartache' are *beyond* torch songs: Holiday's small, wounded-bird cry works its way under your skin and settles into your soul. The leisurely, easy 'You're My Thrill' is seduction by sound, evoking small, smoky, dimly lit nightclubs, a half-empty whisky glass, the scent of Gitanes on someone's hair...pure magic. Holiday's knack of hitting those notes like a human trumpet (a trick which might not sound appealing, but has to be heard to be believed) is showcased brilliantly on 'Them There Eyes'. 'Don't Explain' is an entirely adult love song, love with none of the jagged edges smoothed off, and no shadows to hide the truth in.
All in all, this is an album made for listening to late at night, in semi-darkness, with a summer breeze bearing the sounds of the city drifting through the window. If you can't get that, then try putting it on, shutting your eyes and letting Lady Day take you away. You won't regret it.
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37 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 1998
Format: Audio CD
For newcomers to Billie Holiday and for those who want one CD that represents her work, this is not the CD to buy. Much of Billie's greatness was her rapport with musicians, and on this CD, Billie is on one world and the musicians on another. Aside from the atrocious arrangements, Billie can be heard rushing through her tunes, clipping her phrases, not having any musical space to breathe life into these songs. This CD is a total rip-off. If I could only have one Billie Holiday collection, it would be the old one on Columbia/Sony, "God Bless The Child." Good luck finding it, as it seems to be out of print.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chime Braithwaite on March 25, 2001
Format: Audio CD
...Like me! True, these songs don't represent the real Billie because they are so short (about 3 minutes each). And there are a lot of added strings in the background in order to fit into what was commercially typical of the day. BUT trust me, after you listen to "Good Morning Heartache" it will sound like REAL music, compared to so much (noise/garbage) that passes for music in the present.
I love this record!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Erica Casasola on December 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
While it is true, no one album could contain all of Billie Holiday's greatest hits, it's not a bad start. I you have just discovered Billie Holiday and you want to listen to some of her best renditions then this album isn't a bad place to start. Billie Holiday is so rare a talent that we may never see another like her again. So much of who she was is heard in her voice that it is often feels like an intrusion into the mind of another individual. At the same time, that is what makes Billie Holiday the greatest. So much of what music is today is vapid beyond belief. What with singers that convey no emotion because they have none to offer, lyrics that are as sharp as a butter knife and listeners who get excited over any tripe handed to them in their lethargic ears. In short, Billie Holiday is for everyone, everyone who has a discerning taste for quality. Buying this album is like taking the first bite of a meal that is going to satisfy both your taste buds and your soul.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sasha VINE VOICE on April 9, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Interesting thing that Billie Holiday best remembered years were either early ones with "Columbia" (happy,swinging,small combos,Teddy Wilson on piano) or later ones for "Verve" (sad,melancholic,depressing) while nobody knows her middle years when she ruled the charts with recording for "Decca" (even lesser known are her "Commodore" recordings).
The thing is,on "Decca" Holiday was backed with strings and lush orchestras so people usually dismiss these records as "pop" rather than jazz,which is nonsense of course - she was vocally in her prime and her lazy growl was nothing if not seductive at its best.
As a "torch" singer Holiday was excellent - not a bad note here - songs all jewels ("Solitude","Crazy he calls me","That ole devil called love") and its fun to hear intro to "You're my thrill" copied note for note on Joni Mitchell's torch album "Both sides now" recorded decades later.
It has been said that strings were almost status symbol for singers at the time and nobody had to twist Holiday's arm to do it,she liked the strings,wanted them and enjoyed being surrounded with cinematic sweep.
Only strange choice is silly vocal chorus on "God bless the child" that betrays the time of recordings,everything else is first-class and luckily we even have spare original of that song recorded few years previously so even that is not bad thing.
If only for two breathtakingly beautiful Holiday singles collected here - "Don't explain" and "Lover man" - this CD is definitely worth purchase. This is the time when she actually had hits,was played on jukeboxes and finally was lifted above cult-status into big time,"Downbeat" awards as singer of the year on national level and so on,really great CD.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is another great album that I listen to ALL THE TIME!! I Highly recommend this album! This compilation deserves 25 stars!
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Billie Holiday's Greatest Hits (Decca)
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