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Billie Holiday's Greatest Hits (Decca)

4.5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Billie Holiday's Greatest Hits
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Audio CD, June 6, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

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
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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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,653 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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I had a music teacher who used to say you either love Billie Holiday or you love her more. She was one of the greatest jazz singers of all time -- many would say the greatest -- but she cut so many sides it's hard to know where to start if you want to get to know her work. This is a fine introduction, with a collection of definitive songs and solid production. I have many hours of her music covering her entire recording career, and this is the Billie CD I always have in my car.
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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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The songs on this CD brings back lots of memories of my husband and I surfing the jazz clubs in NYC. There was a club called the Blue Note that always seemed to have the music of Ms Billie Holiday singing the blues or that of Miles Davis playing as you either entered or were just passing their doors. A wonderful songstress whose music will never die.
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By Gaby on August 31, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bought this as a gift for my father since he is a complete fan of Billie Holiday and i got absolutely thrilled with its content. The record is beautiful and charming. Ageless! amazing price at amazon. I am very happy and my dad too. We enjoy listening to it together. lovely
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I can't do a proper review of this--It's Billie Holiday, and what else can you say? It's great music. I can't speak to the choice of selections, and won't-- as with any artist of any depth, it would be really hard to include the exact favorites to please everyone. I like what's included.
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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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By Vernon on December 30, 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
We love Billie Holiday! her voice remains us of a time of style, grace, elegance and important lyrics. Her lifestyle reminds us of sufferings, racial hatred and unfulfilled potentials. She represents us.
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