Billie Holiday: Good Morning Heartache (1946)


Good Morning Heartache


Billie Holiday (vocals)


The Complete Decca Recordings (GRP 601)

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Billie Holiday (vocals), Tiny Grimes (guitar), John Simmons (bass), Sid Catlett (drums),

Joe Guy (trumpet), Gordon Griffin (trumpet), Bill Stegmeyer (alto saxophone and musical director), Hank Ross, Bernie Kaufman, Armand Camgros (tenor saxophone), Joe Springer (piano) and four string players


Composed by Irene Higgenbotham, Ervin Drake, and Dan Fisher


Recorded: New York, January 22, 1946


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Like “That Ole Devil Called Love,” composed by Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher, staff writers for a Decca publishing affiliate, “Good Morning Heartache” was especially written for Holiday at the behest of producer Milt Gabler. This time he turned to the former Mrs. Teddy Wilson, Irene Higginbotham, a close friend of Holiday, who with evocative “period” backing obliges with a performance so profound that once heard it goes on to enjoy a second life, a life within memory. The lyrics of “Heartache” again conform to her character part -- indeed, the importance of a singer finding a character part (or image) in popular music is something that would later become commonplace; Sinatra with his barstool performances, Piaf as the sparrow unbroken by life, and Garland who was. Image goes to the heart of Holiday’s appeal down the years, yet even today the way it interacts with her music remains the least understood aspect of her art.

Reviewer: Stuart Nicholson

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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  • 1 Meryl // Sep 30, 2008 at 04:57 PM
    I am trying to obtain a photo of Joe Springer with Billie Holiday for my 82 year old father. He and Joe were first cousins and close as kids and for some reason my dad is thinking about him often these days. Anybody have any idea on where I might be able to find one? Thanks.