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Billie Holiday

  • When you're poor, you grow up fast.

  • Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen, and I was three.

  • You can't get too high for somebody to bring you down.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • with William Dufty, Lady Sings the Blues ()
  • I can't stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession, let alone two years or ten years. If you can, then it ain't music, it's close-order drill or exercise or yodeling or something, not music.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • with William Dufty, Lady Sings the Blues ()
  • You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • with William Dufty, Lady Sings the Blues ()
  • Sometimes it's worse to win a fight than to lose.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • with William Dufty, Lady Sings the Blues ()
  • 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.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • with William Dufty, Lady Sings the Blues ()
  • The stuff they wrote about me in Europe made me feel alive. Over here some damn body is always trying to embalm me. I'm always making a comeback, but nobody ever tells me where I've been.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • with William Dufty, Lady Sings the Blues ()
  • In this country, don't forget, a habit is no damn private hell. There's no solitary confinement outside of jail. A habit is hell for those you love. And in this country it's the worst kind of hell for those who love you.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • with William Dufty, Lady Sings the Blues ()
  • I can only sing songs my way. I don't know any other way.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • in Studs Terkel, Giants of Jazz ()
  • I've been told nobody sings the word 'hunger' like I do.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • in Jeanne L. Noble, Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters ()
  • Dope never helped anybody sing better or play music better or do anything better. All dope can do for you is kill you — and kill you the long, slow, hard way. And it can kill the people you love right along with you.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • in Bud Kliment, Billie Holiday ()
  • It was such a small town we didn't have a village idiot. We had to take turns.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • in Roz Warren, ed., Women's Lip ()
  • Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what's more than enough.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • in Trevor Hunt, Words From the Stars ()
  • New Orleans is the only city in the world you go in to buy a pair of nylon stockings they want to know your head size.

    • Billie Holiday
  • I love my man, / I'm a liar if I say I don't. / But I'll quit my man, / I'm a liar if I say I won't.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • "Billie's Blues" ()
  • Them that's got shall get, / Them that's not shall lose / So the Bible says, / And it still is news. / Mama may have, Papa may have, / But God bless the child that's got his own.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • with Arthur Herzog, Jr., song, "God Bless the Child" ()
  • You can't copy anybody and end up with anything. If you copy, it means you're working without any real feeling. And without feeling, whatever you do amounts to nothing.

    • Billie Holiday,
    • with William Dufty, Lady Sings the Blues ()
  • If I'm going to sing like someone else, then I don't need to sing at all.

    • Billie Holiday
  • If nobody can learn from the past, then there’s no point in raking it up.

Billie Holiday, U.S. blues/jazz singer

(1915 - 1959)

Full name: Eleanora Fagan Gough Holiday.