A brief site description, following the menu at right:

About: general information

SONGS & LYRICS: you find here, in alphabetical order, the lyrics for every song Billie ever recorded. Exactly as she phrased it. And some more curious facts about them.

DISCOGRAPHY: here you find the description of every disc that contains any track she ever recorded. Starting with the 78 rpm shellac discs, and evolving to vinyl Long-Plays and CDs.

RECORDING SESSION is a chronologic description of every recording session. Here you find dates, local and musicians that took part in it. They are described in two major categories: Studio sessions and the Live Sessions. The latter are presentations in shows, theaters, movies and radio & TV broadcasting. Images and sound of each original vinyl records are also available.

MUSICIANS: the artists with whom she has worked most often.

The base of this work is a TRACK – a piece of taped audio: a song, a rehearsal, a dialogue, an interview, etc. Audio discs are normally indexed by tracks. Below a table with a summary of existing tracks.

Complete original tracks 330 Studio master recordings (MT) RECORDING SESSIONS
229 Live recordings (LR) RECORDING SESSIONS
Other tracks 120 Alternate Takes (AT)
40 Incomplete Tracks
38 Rehearsals
52 Dialogues, Interviews, Talks
Total 809

They are classified by the year they took place, and cover the two major cathegories: the Studio and Live recording sessions.

The Studio Recordings were made in sessions in which several songs were taped to be comercially released in discs.There are 330 tracks issued by the labels she was under contract. These tracks represent, in general, the best of her work as the recording companies gathered the most talented musicians and used the most modern recording techniques. Generally in each session several takes of each song were made in search of the best technical performance. The selected ones were issued in discs, initially in shellac 78 rpm and later, with the technology development, in vinyl compacts 45 rpm and long-plays 331/3 rpm. These are called the MT – Master Takes, being the other takes stored in the original tapes. All of them are described and commented individually in the site chapter Recording Sessions. Presently they are also available in CD or MP3. A complete list can be found in the section Discography.

The Live Recordings  were made during presentations in theaters, festivals, nightclubs or radio and TV programs. Many are private or amateur recordings with low musical and sound quality. However, some shows and festivals were professionally recorded by the labels and later issued in discs, a few yet in her lifetime. Along her career, 229 live tracks are known. These tracks are described and commented in this site in the chapter Recording Sessions.

There are dozens of CDs and compilations that contain these live recordings. In the section Discography I will present a selected list of CD discs with all the tracks. Some of them are, unfortunately, hard to find.


120 tracks are known. They are also a product of studio takes, recorded in the same day and same musicians, although not selected to be issued in original discs. They were taped in search of best musical quality and also for security reasons, as the recording media at the time – normally wax – was quite damage sensitive. Some of these alternate takes were licensed later to smaller or foreign labels.


Incomplete tracks: 40 tracks are known, resulting from interrupted studio recordings. Most of these tracks can be found in the box-set The Complete BH on Verve (see Discography).

Rehearsals: 38 tracks recorded in two sessions had their tapes preserved.

Talks, Interviews, etc.: 52 dialogue registers (with no music) result from several factors: show introductions, interviews, studio talks, etc. Many issued CDs and compilations reproduce the original tapes of such sessions  with the complete sequence, mixing up original tracks, conversations and incomplete tracks.


Billie Holiday Songs® is the result of an amateur’s research driven by passion, been published as a hobby since 2005. In 2013 a major server breakdown forced the site to be almost completely rebuilt. At that time, the publishing tool was changed to WordPress and the hosting services relocated to www.ipages.com

Art Director: Fernanda Novaes.

Publisher: Paulo Novaes prnovaes@gmail.com

© 2005-2017 www.billieholidaysongs.com®  February 2018

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