Billie Holiday: Gloomy Sunday
Billie Holiday (vocals)
Billie Holiday Greatest Hits (Columbia/Legacy CK 65757)
John Williams (bass).
Composed by Sam Lewis, Rezs? Seress & László Jávor.
Recorded: New York, August 7, 1941
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
Darling, I'd Die Without You, among the hoariest songwriting clichés, was never expressed with greater despondency than in this paean to self-destruction, as Billie Holiday contemplates joining a dead lover. The song's original unrelieved Hungarian pessimism was mitigated by an American stanza that contrived to soften the blow by claiming it was all a dream. It didn't work. The song spawned an urban legend about listeners rendered so melancholic they killed themselves. Figuratively, the casualties included Billie her- self, who committed artistic suicide by signing a long-term contract with Decca Records, which dispatched her on a fruitless quest for the almighty buck. Gloomy Money-day.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz
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