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What A little Moonlight Can Do

Billie Holiday

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April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959

Born to a teenage mother in Philadelphia in 1915, Eleanora Fagan had a hard childhood struggling to survive and lacking a strong upbringing would often get herself into trouble.

After moving to New York City where her difficulty finding employment continued, in 1929 Eleanor decided to start to try performing at clubs.

As her reputation as a jazz singer grew Eleanora came up with a stage name derived from combining the name of actress Billie Dove and that of her father Clarence Holiday.

When Billie Holiday was eighteen during the early 1930s producer John Hammond made arrangements for her first record with a group led by Benny Goodman.

Her friend Lester Young with whom she performed frequently in her early career first coined her nickname ‘Lady Day’.

In 1935 Billie recorded four more sides including “Miss Brown to You” and “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” which ultimately led to a big contract with Columbia in the late 1930s.

“You’ve got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body’s sermon on how to behave.”

“Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what’s more than enough.”
–Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday appears on “Art Ford’s Jazz Party” in July 1958.


Billie Holiday, vocals
Mal Waldron, piano
Mary Osborne, guitar
Vinnie Burke, bass
Osie Johnson, drums

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