Billie Holiday: Gloomy Sunday


Gloomy Sunday


Billie Holiday (vocals)


Billie Holiday Greatest Hits (Columbia/Legacy CK 65757)

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Billie Holiday (vocals), Emmett Berry (trumpet), Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet), Hymie Schertzer (alto sax), Babe Russin (tenor sax), Teddy Wilson (piano), Al Casey (guitar), J.C. Heard (drums),

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

If you liked this track, also check out

Billie Holiday: Strange Fruit
Billie Holiday: Mean to Me
Billie Holiday: Me, Myself and I

Related Links

Billie Holiday: Rare and Live by Ted Gioia
The Dozens: Twelve Essential Billie Holiday Performances by Stuart Nicholson
Billie Holiday by Stuart Nicholson (from The Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians)


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