by: Donald Clarke
publisher: Viking Pinguin Books
ISBN number: 0-670-83771-7
WHAT THE COVER READS:
Billie Holiday has been described as the most influential singer of the century. She fascinates not only for her genius but through the perception of her as tragically self-destructive, an icon of pain and suffering. She was a drug addict, an alcoholic and had a predilection for exploitative, violent men. Yet her life was far more complex than that suggests, and Wishing on the Moon is the first authoritative biography, revealing the truth behind the myth.
Donald Clarke has had access to unpublished interviews with people who knew Billie from her childhood in the streets and goodtime houses of Baltimore, through the early days of success in New York to the years of fame - and some happiness - and her decline and death at the age of forty-four. Throughout her short life she veered between fierce independence and pathetic reliance, falling in and out of love recklessly, cultivating a staggering promiscuity. The recollections of those who knew her well agree that she was adored, had a genius for friendship and affection and was intoxicatingly charismatic.
There are many surprises in Billie's story, beginning with the truth about her birth and ending with the truth about her death. She was an expert fabricator and her ghosted autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, was said to have been unread by its supposed author. Clarke untangles this web of confusion - both deliberate and unintentional. He discusses her friendships and relationships, as well as the highs and lows of her musical career, bringing his incomparable knowledge of the music of the period to depict the times in which she lived, with flair and vividness.
With access to an unrivalled biographical archive, and with wonderful contributions from friends, lovers and musicians, Wishing on the Moon is the definitive account of one of the greatest performers of the century, the woman who was immortalized as the one and only 'Lady Day'.
Wishing On The Moon
Addendum - These items represent the changes between the hardback edition and the softback.
by: Donald Clarke
Page 355: Dinah Washington died in 1962, not '63
For the DUTCH readers a review as published in the NRC.