Billie Holiday Discography The Original LP Discography
In this section you find all the original Long Plays 33 1/3rpm
released in her lifetime (between 1950 and 1960).
The tracks highlighted in Blue weren't issued previously in 78rpm nor 45rpm formats, being released directly in LP for the first time.
1951 BILLIE HOLIDAY FAVORITES 10" LP Columbia CL 6163
Favorites gets the honor to be her first Long Play, still in the 10" size recently released. Its eight tracks represent a short sample of the so called "Columbia Years", being the sole album published by Columbia in that period. A curiosity here is the track Mandy Is Two, a track recorded in 1942 and never released in 78rpm. Down Beat magazine reviews it on April 1951:
" (...) You've already read thousands of tributes to Billie, this won't be another. Suffice it to say that this item is a must."
Tk Song MT# Rec.Date Matrix a1 Time In My Hands 136 a2 Laughing At Life 135 a3 It's A Sin To Tell A Lie 158 a4 Swing, Brother, Swing 124 b1 Loveless Love 142 b2 Without Your Love 066 b3 Tell Me More, And More 134 b4 Mandy Is Two 157 10.02.1942 32406-1
1952 BILLIE HOLIDAY SINGS 10" LP Clef MGC 118 (Mercury MGC 118)
In the spring of 1952, Billie began recording for Norman Granz, first on Mercury Records (that was found in 1945 in Chicago, being specialized in jazz and blues) and, in the following year, on his own Clef label. This album was first released by Mercury and short after reissued by Clef. Its eight tracks were recorded in a single session in Los Angeles on April, 1952. This historic session, with Oscar Peterson on piano, was her first LA session (not considering the single track with Paul Whiteman years before).
Tk Song MT# a1 I Only Have Eyes For You 225 a2 You turned The Tables On Me 222 a3 Blue Moon 220 a4 Solitude 226 b1 These Foolish Things 224 b2 Easy To Love 223 b3 You Go To my Head 221 b4 East Of The Sun 219
1953 AN EVENING WITH BILLIE HOLIDAY 10" LP Clef MGC 144
Down Beat magazine rated this album 5 stars in February, 1954:
"All have been issued before on 78. Like Mr. Granz says: ...the time spent here with Billie is what you make it, because there is every possible mood in this album... (the band) complement her with an affinity and admiration which is saved only for the great. And for this Holiday-struck listener, there is no one greater."
Tk Song MT# a1 Stormy Weather 236 a2 Lover Come Back To Me 235 a3 My Man 234 a4 He's Funny That Way 238 b1 Yesterdays 237 b2 Tenderly 230 b3 I Can't Face The Music 239 b4 Remember 232
1954 BILLIE HOLIDAY 10" LP Clef MGC 161
Down Beat magazine reviewed this album in October, 1954 and rated it 5 stars:
"The set is an experience in mounting pleasure that can do anything but increase still further no matter how often the LP is replayed. (...) As for comparing it with earlier Teddy Wilson-Billie sessions, what's the point? Count your blessings in having both. (...) Speaking of time, Billie's beat and variations thereon never cease to be among the seven wonders of jazz."
The magazine refers to Oscar Peterson on piano in all these tracks and compares it to the old Brunswick years. These are now the Verve years, Norman Granz being the producer.
One more note: the track Autumn in New York is a different take from the release on 78 (s. vinyl discography).
Tk Song MT# Rec Date Matrix a1 Love for Sale 228 24.04.1952 YBC785-1 a2 Moonglow 229 24.04.1952 YBC786-4 a3 Everything I Have Is Yours 227 24.04.1952 YBC784-1 a4 If The Moon Turns Green 231 b1 Autumn in New York 233 24.04.1952 YBC790-1 b2 How Deep Is The Ocean 240 b3 What a Little Moonlight Can 241 b4 I Cried for You 242 14.04.1954 YBC1569-1
1955 MUSIC FOR TORCHING 12" LP Clef MGC 669
This album has some special characteristics that worth to be mentioned: it is the first 12" Billie Long-Play and it contains only tracks never previously released.
You don't have to be in psychology or nurse practitioner programs to know the emotional heartache Billie feels.
Down Beat magazine reviewed it in November, 1955 and gave it the maximum 5 stars:
"Music For Torching was recorded on the west coast in August of this year with the tasteful, relaxed backing of (the Band). As for the singing, I suppose that the nostalgic will repeat automatically that this isn't the Billie of 20 years ago. Of course it isn't. (...) This is a Billie who has experienced a lot of pain and some joy in the years between. (...) She sings more reflectively and less hopefully but with no less depth and warmth. When she's right - and she's absorbingly right on these sides - no one yet is able to touch Billie as the most emotionally striking singer in jazz, 20 years ago or today. Totally recommended."
Tk Song MT# Rec Date Matrix a1 It Had to Be You 263 23.08.1955 YBC2444-1 a2 Come Rain or Come Shine 265 25.08.1955 YBC2446-3 a3 I Get a Kick out of You 270 25.08.1955 YBC2451-3 a4 I Don't Want to Cry Anymore 257 23.08.1955 YBC2438-2 b1 Ghost Of A Chance 259 23.08.1955 YBC2440-1 b2 A Fine Romance 268 25.08.1955 YBC2449-8 b3 Gone with the Wind 261 23.08.1955 YBC2442-4 b4 Isn't This a Lovely Day? 272 25.08.1955 YBC2453-3
1955 BH AT JAZZ AT THE PHILHARMONIC 12" LP Clef MGC 169
This LP made history, being the first to carry a Billie's live register, the JATP concerts. Clef Records' press release quotes Down Beat magazine:
"These were recorded at a JATP concert in LA in 1946, and never again will Billie sound this wonderful. The years that have passed since then have taken their toll on the great stylist, but this all happened on a night when she had everything, and you don't find this LP to be one of the most emotional half-hours you've ever spent, there's something wrong. (...) Certainly one of the outstanding records in years (J.T.)"
The magazine made a mistake, though, because this is not a 1946 concert, but rather a compilation of several JATP concerts, as mentioned in the text below.
Tk Song (date & local) a1 Body And Soul (Feb.12 1945 - Phil. Auditorium LA) a2 Strange Fruit (id.a1) a3 Trav'lin' Light (Oct.7 1946 - Shrine Auditorium, LA) a4 He's Funny That Way (id.a3) b1 The Man I Love (June 3 1946 - Carnegie Hall, NYC) b2 Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You (id.b1) b3 All Of Me (id.b1) b4 Billie's Blues (id.b1)
1956 RECITAL FOR BILLIE HOLIDAY and SOLITUDE - LPs Clef MGC 686 & MGC 690
Two minor releases, both compilations of tracks already issued on previous LPs.
Tk Song (Recital) a1 If The Moon Turns Green a2 Autumn in New York a3 My Man b1 He's Funny That Way b2 Remember b3 I Can't Face The Music
Tk Song (Solitude) a1 East Of The Sun a2 Blue Moon a3 You Go To my Head a4 You turned The Tables On Me a5 Easy To Love a6 These Foolish Things b1 I Only Have Eyes For You b2 Solitude b3 Everything I Have Is Yours b4 Love for Sale b5 Moonglow b6 Tenderly
1956 VELVET MOOD 12" LP Clef MGC 713
This fourth Clef album brings eight more original tracks from the same 1955 session already released on Music For Torching and deserves the same comments.
Tk Song MY# Date Matrix a1 Prelude to a Kiss 258 23.08.1955 YBC2439-2 a2 When Your Lover Has Gone 260 23.08.1955 YBC2441-3 a3 Please Don't Talk About Me 262 23.08.1955 YBC2443-2 a4 Nice Work If You Can Get It 264 23.08.1955 YBC2445-5 b1 I Gotta Right To Sing... 266 25.08.1955 YBC2447-1 b2 What's New? 267 25.08.1955 YBC2448-3 b3 I Hadn't Anyone Till You 269 25.08.1955 YBC2450-1 b4 Everything I Have Is Yours 271 25.08.1955 YBC2452-2
1956 LADY SINGS THE BLUES 12" LP Clef MGC 721
In July, 1956 came out the book "Lady Sings The Blues". Down Beat magazine reviewed on the August 8th edition. Here are some excerpts:
"Lady Sings The Blues is Billie Holiday's autobiography. And she tries to get the reader on her side of the mirror so don't expect a three-dimensional view of the subject. The book was written with William Dufty, assistant to the editor of the New York Post (...) Seldom in the book does she talk about her singing (...)"
On a Saturday, November 10 1956 Billie appears in concert at Carnegie Hall. Maybe the best live recording session of Lady’s career, accompanied by several of her loyal companions. Billie is perfect, although her voice is failing. The show was planned to commemorate the edition of her autobiographic book, some paragraphs being read during the performance.
That's how this next album got its title. But, unfortunately, it gets nothing do to with the concert described above, whose tracks can be found in the CD Billie Holiday at Carnegie Hall (see discography). Rather, it resulted from a recording session on June 1956 and a compilation of previously issued tracks.
It was the last LP to be released under Clef label.
Tk Song MY# Date Matrix a1 Lady Sings the Blues 276 06.06.1956 YBC2854-4 a2 Trav'lin' Light 273 06.06.1956 YBC2850-5 a3 I Must Have That Man 274 06.06.1956 YBC2851-3 a4 Some Other Spring 275 06.06.1956 YBC2852-1 a5 Strange Fruit 277 07.06.1956 YBC2855-2 a6 No Good Man 280 07.06.1956 YBC2858-1 b1 God Bless the Child 278 07.06.1956 YBC2856-1 b2 Good Morning Heartache 279 07.06.1956 YBC2857-8 b3 Love Me Or Leave Me b4 Too Marvelous For Words 245 03.09.1954 YBC1932-6 b5 Willow Weep For Me b6 I Thought About You
1957 BODY AND SOUL and SONGS BY DISTINGUÉ LOVERS - LPs Verve MGV 8197 & MGV 8257
These are the first albums coming out under the Verve label. They include songs recorded on January, 1957, a memorable week of 5 recording sessions in the famous Capitol Studios in LA. Norman Granz is the producer (there is a balance of 4 more songs that will be included later in All Or Nothing At All, released in 1959).
Tk Song (Body and Soul) MT# Date Matrix a1 Body and Soul 298 07.01.1957 20507-1 a2 They Can't Take That Away... 303 09.01.1957 20568-6 a3 Darn That Dream 296 07.01.1957 20505-3 a4 Let's Call the Whole Thing Off 305 09.01.1957 20567-4 b1 Comes Love 294 04.01.1957 20503-4 b2 Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You 306 09.01.1957 20565-3 b3 Embraceable You 304 09.01.1957 20566-1 b4 Moonlight in Vermont 290 03.01.1957 20499-1
Tk Song MT# Date Matrix a1 Day in, Day Out 295 07.01.1957 20504-1 a2 A Foggy Day 291 03.01.1957 20500-6 a3 Stars Fell on Alabama 299 08.01.1957 20561-2 b1 One for My Baby 302 08.01.1957 20564-3 b2 Just One of Those Things 293 04.01.1957 20502-2 b3 I Didn't Know What Time It Was 292 04.01.1957 20501-2
1957 ELLA FITZGERALD & BILLIE HOLIDAY AT NEWPORT LP Verve MGV 8234
This is the second live LP to be included in this section. It was recorded live on July 6, 1957 at Newport Jazz Festival at Freebody Park, Newport, Rhode Island. Together in the Saturday programme were, among others, Dave Brubeck, Teddy Wilson and Gerry Mulligan. His voice was in bad shape, see Down Beat review:
"Her thin, crackling voice quivered through the set in semi-recitative style."
The release included also 6 more tunes from Ella Fitzgerald in a previous date at Newport. This was her last album for Verve (two more releases from Verve will follow, but both with previously recorded sessions)
Tk Song a1 Nice Work If You Can Get It a2 Willow Weep for Me a3 Lover Come Back to Me a4 Lady Sings the Blues a5 What a Little Moonlight Can Do a6 My Man
1958 THE BLUES ARE BREWIN' and LOVER MAN LP Decca DL 8701 & DL 8702
These are the two albums released by Decca years after Billie left this label. The tracks were recorded from 1944 to1949, including Guilty, a song never before released. Down Beat magazine reviews Lover Man on 8 January 1959:
"Some quite good Billie, singing material ranging from fine to mawkish, backed by generally drab groups. The voice and the inimitable Holiday feeling manage to shine through. With only trio backing, she breathes life into My Man and Porgy. Vocal group backing on Weep No More and Girls is dreadful. (Dom Cerulli)"
Tk Song (The Blues ...) MY# Date Matrix
a1 Keeps On A Raining a2 Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle a3 Baby I Don't Cry Over You a4 My Sweet Hunk O Trash
a5 Somebody's On My Mind
a6 Guilty 191 27.12.1946 W73768A b1 The Blues Are Brewin' b2 Do Your Duty b3 Baby Get Lost b4 You Can't Lose a Broken Heart b5 Now Or Never b6 Big Stuff
Tk Song (Lover Man)
a1 Lover Man
a2 That Old Devil Called Love
a3 My Man
a4 You're My Thrill
a5 Crazy He Calls Me
a6 Weep No More
b1 There Is No Greater Love
b2 This Is Heaven To Me
b5 Girls Were made To Take Care
b6 Please Tell Me Now
1959 STAY WITH ME and ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL - LPs Verve MGV 8302 & MGV 8329
These are "posthumous" Verve albums, with original tracks previously recorded between 1955 and 1957.
Tk Song (Stay With Me) MT# Date Matrix a1 I Wished on the Moon 252 14.02.1955 YBC2279 a2 Ain't Misbehavin' 256 14.02.1955 YBC2280-2 a3 Everything Happens to Me 254 14.02.1955 YBC2278-2 b1 Say It Isn't So 250 14.02.1955 YBC2281 b2 I've Got My Love to Keep Me 251 14.02.1955 YBC2275-5 b3 Always 253 14.02.1955 YBC2277-3 b4 Do Nothin'Till You Hear From 255 14.02.1955 YBC2276
Tk Song (All or Nothing) MT# Date Matrix a1 Do Nothin'Till You Hear From 281 14.08.1956 YBC2914-3 a2 Cheek to Cheek 282 14.08.1956 YBC2915-5 a3 Ill Wind 283 14.08.1956 YBC2916-4 a4 Speak Low 284 14.08.1956 YBC2917-8 a5 We'll Be Together Again 285 18.08.1956 YBC2929-4 a6 All or Nothing at All 286 18.08.1956 YBC2930-3 b1 Sophisticated Lady 287 18.08.1956 YBC2931-6 b2 April in Paris 288 18.08.1956 YBC2932-6 b3 I Wished on the Moon 289 03.01.1957 20498-4 b4 But Not for Me 297 07.01.1957 20506-7 b5 Say It Isn't So 300 08.01.1957 20562-2 b6 Our Love Is Here to Stay 301 08.01.1957 20563-2
1959 LADY IN SATIN LP Columbia CL 1157
Billie is now back to Columbia for this sole album recorded in 3 sessions on subsequent days in February 1958. She is backed by the strings of Ray Ellis, in a most controversial arrangement. She was in really bad shape, and the sessions had to be recorded after 10pm.
Tk Song MT# Date Matrix
a1 I'm A Fool To Want You 313 19.02.1958 CO 60466-1
a2 For Heaven's Sake 309 18.02.1958 CO 60462-1
a3 You Don't Know What Love Is 307 18.02.1958 CO 60460-1
a4 I Get Along Without You Very 317 20.02.1958 CO 60467-1
a5 For All We Know 311 19.02.1958 CO 60464-1
a6 Violets For Your Furs 318 20.02.1958 CO 60471-1
b1 You've Changed 316 20.02.1958 CO 60469-1
b2 It's Easy To Remember 312 19.02.1958 CO 60465-1
b3 But Beautiful 310 18.02.1958 CO 60463-1
b4 Glad To Be Unhappy 315 20.02.1958 CO 60468-1
b5 I'll Be Around 308 18.02.1958 CO 60461-1
b6 The End Of A Love Affair 314 20.02.1958 CO 60470-1
1959 LAST RECORDING LP MGM E 3764
This is Billie's last album, as the title suggests. Again, she's backed by Ellis. Follows some Leonard Feather's notes from the original LP:
" (...) Watching Lady Day at work while these records were being made was a gratifying experience. Many singers come to record dates in sweatshirts and slippers, running for cover every time a photograph appears. Not Lady. She walked into the studio statuesque and sharp as ever, as attractively made up and gowned and is she were headed for a Carnegie Hall concert. It was a fine psychological note, helpful to the morale of everyone present. As Billie knows so well, a record session is something to be presented for posterity, and while the performances may sound as casual as you please, the approach to them must always involve an awareness of the real importance of the occasion (...)"
Feather is the author of The Encyclopedia of Jazz.
Tk Song MT# Date Matrix
a1 All of You 329 11.03.1959 59XY457-1
a2 Sometimes I'm Happy 325 04.03.1959 59XY441-1
a3 You Took Advantage of Me 326 04.03.1959 59XY442-1
a4 When It's Sleepy Time Down 323 04.03.1959 59XY439-1
a5 There'll Be Some Changes... 327 11.03.1959 59XY455-1
a6 Deed I Do 328 11.03.1959 59XY456-1
b1 Don't Worry 'bout Me 324 04.03.1959 59XY440-1
b2 All the Way 319 03.03.1959 59XY435-1
b3 Just One More Chance 322 03.03.1959 59XY438-1
b4 It's Not for Me to Say 320 03.03.1959 59XY436-1
b5 I'll Never Smile Again 321 03.03.1959 59XY437-1
b6 Baby, Won't You Please Come. 330 11.03.1959 59XY458-1
Billie recording with Ray Ellis
Dozens of albums in the Long Play format were still released until the eighties, when they start to be replaced by the digital Compact Disc format. Those titles will not be covered in this work, as they are compilations or repacks of previous material. The above commented 19 albums were the ones edited between 1950 - when they started coming out - and Billie death in 1959. Enjoy.
For those collectors, almost all these titles have been reissued in CD, although almost always with a different set of tracks. Most of them can still be found at Amazon.com Follows the list:
Collection "Billie Holiday Story", with 6 volumes:
1 2 3
4 5 6
Volume 1 - JATP © 1995 Polygram Records
Volume 2 - Solitude © 1993 Polygram Records
Volume 3 - Recital by BH © 1994 Polygram Records
Volume 4 - Lady Sings the Blues © 1995 Polygram Records
Volume 5 - Music for Torching © 1995 Polygram Records
Volume 6 - Carnegie Hall © 1995 Polygram Records
Other CD from Polygram catalogue:
7 8 9
CD7 - Stay With Me © 1991 Polygram Records
CD8 - All or Nothing at All © 1995 Polygram Records
CD9 - Distingué Lovers © 1997 Polygram Records
CD10 - Ella & Bilie © 2000 Polygram Records
CD11 - Lady In Satin © 1997 Sony Records
CD12 - Last recording © 1990 Polygram Records
CD13 - BH Sings © 2003 Umvd
CD14 - An Evening with BH © 2004 Universal Japan
CD15 - Billie Holiday © 2002 Universal Japan
CD16 - Body and Soul © 1996 Mobile Fidelity
CD17 - The Blues © 1998 Decca Japan
CD18 - Lover Man © 1999 Decca Japan
Note: I couldn't find an original CD release from "Favorites" and "Velvet Moods".
© 2011 Billie Holiday Songs
version 16.6 December 2011