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Billie Holiday - Greatest Hits (Sony) Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, November 17, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Curiously, yet not surprisingly given the enormity of his sway, Billie Holiday's greatest vocal influence was "Pops"--Louis Armstrong, whose trumpet was his first signature (though he's often credited with being the first great jazz singer as well). One hears Armstrong in Holiday's sense of phrasing, timing, and the warmth she invests in a lyric. This package, containing such touchstone Holiday renderings as "I Cried for You," "Body and Soul," and "When a Woman Loves a Man" (poetic, given the fact that Billie was notoriously unlucky at love), also boasts her signature song, "God Bless the Child." Her accompanists are a hall-of-fame lot, including trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Buck Clayton; saxmen Lester Young (with whom she had a close relationship), Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges, and Harry Carney; drummers Cozy Cole and Jo Jones; bassists John Kirby and Walter Page; and her frequent pianist, Teddy Wilson. --Willard Jenkins

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Miss Brown To You - Billie Holiday
  2. What A Little Moonlight Can Do - Billie Holiday
  3. I Cried For You - Billie Holiday
  4. Billie's Blues (I Love My Man) - Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra
  5. A Sailboat In The Moonlight - Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra
  6. I Can't Get Started - Billie Holiday
  7. When A Woman Loves A Man - Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra
  8. Some Other Spring - Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra
  9. Solitude - Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra
  10. God Bless The Child - Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra
  11. Gloomy Sunday - Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra
  12. The Very Thought Of You - Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra
  13. Body And Soul - Billie Holiday


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 17, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00000FC7M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,100 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I really enjoyed this particular selection of Holiday's work. I looked everywhere for a compiliation CD that included "The Very Thought of You" (my copy of Lady's Decca Days didn't) and this one had it, along with other songs that weren't included on Decca Days either. Short of purchasing a wildy expensive boxed set of her work, I would reccomend this for anyone even remotely interested in the talent of Billie Holiday: the sound quality is excellent and the choice of songs is great, as well. Even the liner notes are an welcome addition---they include an informative bio about Billie as well as her rise to fame and anecdotes from some of the people she worked with.
As a side note, the only song I would have added to this collection is "Strange Fruit," one of the most haunting and politically-charged Holiday songs to date. If you get a chance to hear that, you'll be doing yourself a favor. Otherwise, this album is a great choice.
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Format: Audio CD
Almost everything Billie Holiday recorded, and maybe everything Billie recorded before 1941, like these sides, was great. Certainly, this collection doesn't have any of the very important work Billie Did during WWII for Commodore, nor does it have some of th exciting Jazzy recordings Billie did for Verve in the late 1940s and 1950s. Nor are any of the outstanding live performances by Billie for Jazz at the Philharmonic or in her Carneige Hall concerts on this CD.

With Billie who recorded for about 30 years on a lot of labels, the tendency was, particularly back in the days of LPs, for every owner of some Billie material to put out whatever they could crip together as Billie's greatest hits.

I have to say that I was introduced to Billie's greatest work, that in the 1930s, by owning this collection on Vinyl. This is nice fun and engaging music. On some of the great standards, she really makes it. Like all of her recordings for Columba and its ancestors back then, John Hammond Sr, gathers together some of the masters of Black and white swing Jazz to join her. Very shortly after she started recording, the greatest names in Jazz would flock to her sessions and play on her recordings for litte because of the innovation and creativity Billie showed as a jazz creator in her own right.

One special treat here is "I can't get started" with the Count Basie Orchestra. Billie was the first female singer with Count Basie's band, but because she was booked to Columbia and the Count had been shanghied by Decca, there were no studio recordings of Billie singing with the Basie Orchestra. This is an enormous loss to human culture. "I can't get started" is one of the two air checks (recordings made off of radio broadcasts) we have of Billie with the Baseities.
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Format: Audio CD
To many, Billie Holiday is tragically linked to drugs and alcohol, including the rapid decline of her unique voice after the 1940s. But as this set demonstrates, her voice was still in peak form in the 1930s and early 40s, the eras from which this set culls the songs. For this greatest hits, Sony-Columbia picks mostly slow tempo songs despite the fact that Billie swings fast tempo songs aplenty back then. The only fast one here is "What A Little Moonlight Can Do", otherwise the rest are ballads and slow burners. I wish Columbia had included more "swingers" in their remastered hits package. No doubt this will NOT be the last Billie Holiday reissue or hits compilation we'll see from Sony-Columbia. There will be more to come---just put more "fast ones" on the next one. For that shortcoming, I rate this package 4 stars instead of 5. But the singing here is still inspiring and enjoyable as any Lady Day CD from the 1930s.
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Format: Audio CD
I heard this CD while I was walking around Borders and just had to have it. These are early recordings - the music is fresh and joyous - the vocals are superb. I especially love the recordings of "Miss Brown To You," "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" (a treat), "Some Other Spring" and my very favorite, "I Can't Get Started." I have other Holiday recordings. However, this is the one I play again and again. I only wish that it had "Good Morning Heartache" on it. Oh, well.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I loved this CD but i love everything the late Billie Holiday did......and I am not a jazz fan. From Billie Holidays early recordings to her last with her damaged voice, everything The Lady did was just chillingly awesome. When her voice was gone from the hard life of drug abuse and general heartbreak, Billie Holiday still excelled making you feel every bad moment in her life. As was general practice at the time, performers, both black, white and hispanic were generally screwed over by the record companies. Gene Vincent never was adequetely compensated and he was white as snow, Carl Perkins saw Elvis make millions off his songs despite he fact that Mr. Perkins actually wrote many of his performed songs. I don't know of a single Elvis song ever written by Mr. Presley. Elvis was a performer, not a musician. Of course since many if not most of the black musical artists were either fully or partially illiterate and thus were open season for the record companies who of course exploited the hell out of them. I dont really feel sorry for the black performers more so than the white ones as they could have and some did obtain good managers and didn't end up broke with little more than an impressive resume that they could't read and by the 20th century there werent any laws that forbid the black musicians from learning to read and write and NOBODY ever forced a single performer or performer/songwriter to do drugs to excess so even for Billie Holiday I don't feel sorrow for. Gratitude yes, sorrow, no. She must be given credit for being so superb that even with a mostly ruined voice she used that broken voice to tell the ongoing saga of her too short life.Read more ›
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