Billie en édition

“ Ian Clayton works as a writer and broadcaster in northern England. Over the last 25 years he has worked on more than fifty books and hundreds of TV and Radio programmes. He is a workshop leader specialising in combining musi with the written and spoken word. Ian’s lates book ‘BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME’ published January 2007 contains many references to his inspiration Billie Holiday. Ian first became interested in Billie when he discovered a pile of second hand Verve LP’s in a shop in York the day after an elderly man had traded in his collection at the beginning ofthe 1980’s”

Ian Clayton

You may contact Ian at: mail[at]:



1. Billie Holiday(with William Dufty). Lady sings the Blues. Doubleday. 1956.
The notorious autobiography on which the film of the same name is ‘loosely” based.
2. John Chilton. Billies Blues. Quartet. 1975.
Well researched hard facts about Billie’s recording career.
3. Chris Ingham. Billie Holiday. Unanimous. 2000.
An entry in the“Diva’s” series.
4. David Margolick. Strange Fruit. Running ¨ress. 2000.
The impact of “Café Society and an early cry for human rights.
5. Bud Kliment. Billie Holiday-Singer. Chelsea House. 1990.
Black Americans of achievment series.
6. Leslie Gourse. Billie Holiday Companion. Schirmer. 1997.
Compilation of various, mostly hard to find writings on Billie.
7. John White. Billie Holiday. Spellmount. 1987.
Larger format book in “Jazz Lifetimes” series.
8. Leslie Gourse. Billie Holiday. Franklin Watts. 1995.
The tragedy and triumph of Lady Day.
9. Stuart Nicholson. Billie Holiday. Victor Gollancz. 1995.
A model of biographical writing, much prviously unknown material.
10. Michel Fontanes. Billie et Paris. ( English translation available) . Editions Rive Droite 1999.
Thoroughly researched chronicle of Billies time in Paris 1954 and 1958.
11. Marc-Edouard Nabe. L‘âme de Billie Holiday. L’infini Denoël. 1986.
novel. Not published in English.
12. Farah Jasmin Griffin. If you ca’nt be free, be a mistery. The Free Press. 2001.
A groundbreaking study that confronts the myths.
13. Robert O’Meally. Lady Day. The many faces of Billie Holiday. Arcade. 1991.
Superbly illustrated; scholarly and enlightened.
14. Donald Clarke. Wishing on the Moon. Viking Penguin. 1994.
A near definite account.
15. Burnett James. Billie Holiday. Spellmount/Hippocrene. 1984.
Small Format. An introduction in the Jazz Masters series.
16. Melvin Maddocks. Billie Holiday (Giants of Jazz) Time Life. 1979.
Biography to accompany a Time Life record set.
17. Ken Vail. Lady Day’s diary. Castle. 1996.
A month by month Chronology of Lady’s career.
18. Paola Boncompagni. Lady Day Life and Songs. Nuovi Equilibri. 1992.
Small format book to accomany mini CD from Italy.
19. Julia Blackburn. With Billie. Jonathan Cape 2005.
A well constructed book, uses interviews undertaken by Linda Kuehl in the 1970’s.
20. Magdalena Alagna. Billie Holiday. Rosen 2003.
An entry in the “rock and roll hall of famers” series, introduction for teenagers.
21.Alain Gerber. Lady Day . Histoires d’amour. Fayard 2005.
A novel about Billie in French.
22.Danièle Robert. Les Chants de l’Aube de Lady Day.
Le temps qu’il faut 1995.
A novel about Billie’s life in French.
23. Sylvia Fol. Billie Holiday. Folio 2006.
A complete book in French of Billie’s life with several insights on Billie ambiguous sexuality.


1. Gary Giddins. Faces in the crowd. Oxford University Press. 1992.
A fine collection of essays and criticism.
2. Eric Hobsbawm. Uncommon people. Rebellion and Jazz. Wiedenfield and Nicholson. 1998.
Includes an obituary of Billie.
3. Françoise Sagan. Avec mon meilleur souvenir. Folio. 1984.
In english” With fondest regards” ( Alison and Busby 1988.) Affectionate and candid tribute.
4. Angela Y. Davies. Blues Legacies, Black Feminism. Vintage 1999.
Scholarly research into the sociology of blues and jazz from female standpoint.
5.Robyn Archer/Diane Symonds. A Star is Torn. Virago.1986.
An anthology of various women singers. Part of a stageshow.
6. Burnett James. Essays on Jazz. Jazz Book Club. 1964.
An essay called” Billie Holiday and the Art of Communication”.
7. Bennu Green. The Reluctant Art. Jazz Book Club. 1964.
A forty page essay called” Billie Holiday”.
8. Martin T. Williams. The Art of Jazz. Jazz Book Club. 1962.
Essay entilted “ Billie Holiday” by Glen Coulter.
9. Martin T. Williams. Jazz Panorama. Jazz Book Club. 1965.
Another essay by Glen Coulter, reviewing Billie records.
10. Leonard Feather. From Satchmo to Miles. Stein and Day. 1974.
Personal stories from the great jazz writer.
11. Martin Williams. The Jazz Tradition. Oxford Univ. Press. 1983.
An essay entitled:” Actress without an act”.
12. Max Jones. Talking Jazz. McMillan Press. 1987.
Adventures involving the writer and Billie in tour in England 1954.
13. Roy Carr (exec. ED.) Jazz singers. Hamlyn. 1999.
Glossy, Large format introduction to jazz vocalists..
14. Francis Davis. Outcats. Oxford Univ. Press. 1990.
Essays on jazz people including “ The Man who Danced with Billie Holiday”.
15. Will Friedwald. Jazz Singing. Quartet. 1991.
Superb Book. Essay called “ Lady Day and Lady Time”.
16. Hettie Jones. Big Star Fallin’Mama. Viking. 1974.
Warm portraits of five singers inc. Billie.
17. Henry Pleasants. The Great American Popular Singers. Victor Gollancz. 1974.
A wonderful survey of vocal art.
18. Kitty Grime. Jazz Voices. Quartet 1983.
A patchwork of interviews with jazz people, a chapter about Billie.
19. Studs Terkel. Giants of Jazz. The New Press. 1957.
A series of beautifully observed protraits, chapter on Billie “ God Bless The Child”.


1. John Hammond (with Irving Townsend). John Hammond on Record. Penguin. 1981.
Autobiography of the jazz buff and record company man.
2. Maya Angelou. The Heart of a Woman. Virago. 1986.
Fourth vol. Of the great black writers autobiography.
3. Jeremy Reed. Angels Divas and Black Listed Heres. Peter Owen. 1999.
A challenging series of essays by poet and novelist.
4. Leslie Gourse. Madame Jazz. Oxford Univ. Press. 1995.
The history of women in Jazz.
5. Sally Placksin. Jazz Women. 1900 to the Present. Pluto. 1985
Words, lives and music of nearly a century of jazz women.
6. Leslie Gourse. Louis’Children, American Jazz Singers. Quill. 1984.
A comprehensive overview of the Louis Armstrong legacy.
7. Harry Shapiro. Waiting for the Man. Quartet. 1988.
Drugs and their links to popular music.
8. Arnold Shaw. 52nd Street. The Street of Jazz. Da Capo. 1977.
Originally published as “The Street that never Slept” A slice of jazz nightlife.
9. Buck Clayton. Buck Clayton’s Jazz World. McMillan. 1986.
Story of the great trumpeter and Billie accompanist.
10. Ted Fox. Show Time at the Apollo. Quartet 1985.
A survey of 50 years of the great Harlem theatre.
11. William P. Gottleib. The Golden Age of Jazz. Pomegranate. 1995.
A nostalgic look back to the 1930’s and 40’s.
12. Charles Fox/Valerie Wilmer. The Jazz Scene. Hamlyn. 1971.
A nicely illustrated overview.
13. Joachim Berendt. The Jazz Book (Revised Edition). Paladin 1984.
One of the truly great jazz histories.
14. Geoffrey C. Ward/Ken Burns. Jazz. A History of America’s Music. Pimlico. 2000.
Excellent research, beautifully illustrated tie in to TV series.
15. Teddy Wilson. (A Lightart, H Van Loo) Teddy Wilson Talks Jazz. Cassell.1996.
A candid account account of Wilson’s life and career.
16. Arnold Shaw. Black Popular Music in America. Schirmer. 1986.
Comprehensive and well researched.
17. John Chilton. Jazz. Hodder and Stoughton. 1979.
Intro. To history and practice of jazz music. Best of his type.
18. Whitney Balliet. Dinosaurs in the Morning. J.Dent. 1964.
Essays by the New York Times Jazz critic.
19. Stanley Dance. The world of Swing. Scribners. 1974.
A chronicle of the big band era.
20. Philip Larkin. All what Jazz. Faber. 1970.
Criticism and record reviews by famous English poet.
21. Cynthia Palmer/Michael Horowitz. Sisters of the Extreme. Park St Press. 2000.
Women writing about their drug experience.


1. Alice Adams. Listening to Billie. Penguin. 1984.
A beautiful novel that starts in a 1950’s Manhattan night- club.
2. John Wieners. 707 Scott St. Sun and Moon. 1996.
Poetry and Prose dedicated to Billie.
3. Anne Grifalconi. Tinny’s hat. Harper Collins. 1999.
For children. A young girl wears her musician father’s hat.
4. Robert Somma (ed.) No One Waved Goodbye. Charisma. 1973.
Includes the poem “ The Day Lady Day Died”. ( Lunch Poems 1963).
5.Alexis De Veaux. Don’t Explain. Writers and Readers. 1988.
A prose poem in tribute to Billie.
6. Carlos Sampayo/Jose Munoz. Billie Holiday. Fantagraphics Books. 1993.
Imaginative stuff. A graphic novel.
7. Elisabeth Hardwick . Sleepless Nights. Random House. 1979.
A stunning novel, taking in memory, affection and Billie Holiday in Harlem.
8. Jeremy Reed. Saint Billie. Enitharmon Press 2001.
An anthology that captures the drama of Billie’s life and the jazz age.


Billie is of course mentioned in every reference work on jazz. Following are strongly recommended.
1. Leonard Feather. The eEncyclopeadia of Jazz. Arthur Baker . 1960.
One of the first in the field and still very reliable.
2. John Chilton. Who’s Who of Jazz. Bloomsbury. 1970.
Obsessively comprehensive.
3. David Meeker. Jazz in the Movies. Talisman. 1981.
Indispensable guide to jazz on film. Includes all of Billie appearances plus TV ones.
4. John Fordham. Jazz. Dorling Kindersley. 1993.
History, instruments, musucians, Recordings. A connoisseur’s book.
5 Ian Carr, D. Fairweather, B. Priestlet. Jazz. Essential Companion. Grafton. 1987.
Homage to jazz musicians everywhere.
6. Richard Cook, Brian Morton. Pengin Guide to Jazz on CD. LP and Cassette. Penguin 1992.
Definitive reference work with criticism of all available recordings.
7. Roy Carr. A Century of Jazz. Hamlyn. 1998.
Beautifully illustrated celebration of jazz history.
8. Brian Case S Britt C Murray. Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Jazz. Salamender. 1986.
For the buff or the new fan.
9. Barry MaCraae. The Hazz Handbook. Longman 1987.
Practical, easy to use and insightful.


1. Jorgen Grunnet Jepsen. Discography of Billie Holiday. Knudsen (Denmark). 1969.
Small, Home published Discography.
2. Jack Millar. Born to Swing. JazzMedia.(Denmark). 1979.
A model for all discographical writing.
Updated by Jack Millar until his death in July 1999.
Available on
3. Alberto Varela. A complete discography of Billie, available on the site: varelasite from a dedicated Brazilian fan of Lady.