Yasmin Nair

Queer music Friday - Billie Holiday

Filed By Yasmin Nair | July 10, 2009 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: boney m, queer music

In honour of Billie Holiday. Who was, as one website puts it: "rather openly bisexual".

Here's Holiday singing "Strange Fruit":

"I'm a Fool to Want You":

and "The Blues Are Brewin'":

Finally, "Summertime." The video is a tad grainy and odd, but I liked the effort someone put into it:

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beergoggles | July 10, 2009 7:42 PM

I initially read that as Debby Holiday in my rss feed, and being a fan, had to click it.. imagine my disappointment .. k/j.

Not one of the best songs, but oh how I love her tone.

I lover her so much and the fact that she was openly bi at that time is just great.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 11, 2009 11:36 AM

Yasmin, I suggested "Strange Fruit" to Alex when he surprised me by a music posting that was not a head banging experience. (I almost always skip the music bits) I am glad you are reintroducing this brilliance to another generation.

Let's see, the last few have been:

pop ballads
indie rock
indie rock

Yeah, that's the issue: too much head-banging.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 14, 2009 10:29 AM

Now now, let's not be sensitive. You know I told you about "Strange Fruit." Yasmin is just ahead of you and you know, I really don't like current popular culture anyway. It is only classic standards like Holiday, Etta, Streisand, Frank, and Garland that stop me in my tracks.

Call it a weakness, call it a taste, but remember that even the Beetles did ballads.

Well, actually, Robert, to be fair and clear: It was Alex who suggested I post on Billie Holiday. I've always loved her work, especially "Strange Fruit," but I originally meant to post on another group - one that might fit into your category of "head-bangers," as a matter of fact. Alex and I were talking about the group (about whom I will be writing a separate post, hence my not naming it right now) and we realised (okay, he gently pointed out) that it isn't queer, unless I really stretched my imagination to make it so. That's when he suggested Holiday,and here we are.

I'm glad you like Holiday as much as I do and, I believe, as Alex does. But I don't think she needs reintroducing to "another generation" because her popularity has never waned, and I don't think that any "generation" is ever monolithic in its tastes. I know plenty of twenty-year-olds who enjoy both queer punk and Holiday, and plenty of sixty-year-olds who can't bear what some refer to as the classics and who delight in introducing me to the newest and most indefinable genres of music currently being produced.

I love Billie Holiday. As someone who loves songs with messages in the lyrics, 'Strange Fruit' definitely ranks up there as one of my favorites.