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Billie Holiday Quotes

Billie Holiday (1915 - 1959)

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Billie Holiday Picture

Billie Holiday by Carl Van Vechten, 1949

Courtesy Library of Congress
Billie Holiday, a popular and tragic figure in jazz, was a gifted singer with an amazing voice and talent whose personal life was chaotic and troubled.

Selected Billie Holiday Quotations

• I never hurt nobody but myself and that's nobody's business but my own.

• I'm always making a comeback but nobody ever tells me where I've been.

• You've got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body's sermon on how to behave.

• Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what's more than enough.

• If I don't have friends, then I ain't got nothin'.

• Don`t threaten me with love, baby. Let`s just go walking in the rain.

• Love is like a faucet, it turns off and on.

• You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation.

• Sometimes it's worse to win a fight than to lose.

• Singing songs like "The Man I Love" or 'Porgy" is no more work than sitting down and eating Chinese roast duck, and I love roast duck.

• People don't understand the kind of fight it takes to record what you want to record the way you want to record it.

• I hate straight singing. I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it. That's all I know.

• If I'm going to sing like someone else, then I don't need to sing at all.

• You can`t copy anybody and end with anything. If you copy, it means you're working without any real feeling. No two people on earth are alike, and it's got to be that way in music or it isn't music.

• No two people on earth are alike, and it's got to be that way in music or it isn't music.

• I never had a chance to play with dolls like other kids. I started working when I was six years old.

• In this country, don`t forget, a habit is no damn private hell. There`s no solitary confinement outside of jail. A habit is hell for those you love. And in this country it`s the worst kind of hell for those who love you.

• All dope can do for you is kill you... the long hard way. And it can kill the people you love right along with you.

More About Billie Holiday

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2006. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Billie Holiday Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/billie_holiday.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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