All Of Me - The Betrayal Of Billie Holiday


20090707To mark the 50th anniversary of billie holiday's death, neneh cherry tells the story of a remarkable period in the American jazz singer's life.

Neneh goes back to the underworld of 1940s New York to reveal how billie holiday was betrayed by her manager and sentenced to a year and day in a tough segregated prison for drug offences.

Using archive material from the narcotics officers assigned to her case, as well as interviews with people who knew and played with her, this programme reveals billie holiday's transformation from a prisoner in a federal penitentiary, to a career-defining moment - centre stage at Carnegie Hall - all in just eleven days.

Using extracts from her FBI, prison and medical files, this programme pieces together the little known story of how billie holiday's experiences of betrayal, despair, triumph and success went on to influence her music and become the soundtrack of her life.


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To mark next week's 50th anniversary of the death of singer Billie Holiday (1915-59), Neneh Cherry tells the story of how the jazz-blues legend was betrayed by her manager, resulting in a near-ten-month spell in a tough segregated prison for narcotics offences. The year was 1947, and Holiday already had shown her formidable talent with recordings such as Easy Living (1937), Strange Fruit (1939), God Bless the Child (1941), Embraceable You (1944), and Lover Man (Oh Where

Can You Be?) (1945). The programme uses extracts from her FBI, prison and medical files, with input by those who knew and played with her. Noted for a singing voice that directly related to her troubled life, Holiday performed a career-high show at Carnegie Hall just 11 days after her prison release.

Producer Gail Champion See also Fri 7.30pm