Ella Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996), Billie Holiday (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) and Nina Simone (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) are so often quoted and revered and idolised that it turns into the ultimate cliche to love em. However, this is completely deserved. All three cause an uncontrollable feeling for me, its like overwhelming emotion I can't really describe. I grew up watching a lotta matinees from the 30s, 40s and 50s when I was a kid, sometimes bunking off school to catch em, so it also adds to that nostalgia for me, of being 7 years old, warm and content in my grandparents house and watching movies when it was cold outside.
I don't wanna do a whole write up here of their histories and biographies, theres enough on the internet by more knowledgable people than I. But if you don't know much about them, please find out! They had such mental and interesting lives; divorce, rape, slavery, prostitution, prison...they had it hard! But suffice to say that these three amazingly talented black women were alive in an era of unrest, racially and politically, and all made noteworthy contributions to the causes with their art. Check the lyrics to the haunting song by Billie, "Strange Fruit".
Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
Check her lve here:
Here's a few more of my favourite songs...
Billie Holiday - The Blues Are Brewin'
Ella Fitzgerald - Georgia On My Mind (love this track!!)
Nina Simone - My Baby Just Cares For Me (great video..)
Its a rainy Sunday, im in New York, all wrapped in a blanket on the sofa, sorry "couch". I think I'm gonna watch "Stormy Weather" now...