Certainly no singer has been more mythologized and more misunderstood than Billie Holiday, who helped to create much of the mystique herself with her autobiography Lady Sings The Blues. Donald Clarke was given unrivaled access to a treasure trove of interviews from the 1970s — interviews with those who know Lady Day from her childhood in the street and good-time houses of Baltimore through the early days of success in New York and into the years of fame, right up to her tragic decline and death at the age of forty-four. Clarke uses these interviews to separate fact from fiction, creating what Newsday called "a thoroughly riveting account of Holiday and her milieu."
"This marvelously evocative portrait places her performances firmly in the African American subculture from which they sprang.... Crammed with jazz history and lore and sketches of legendary musicians, this biography will have great appeal for Holiday fans and jazz followers." — Publishers Weekly