Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan, and nicknamed Lady Day. This 1946 recording of “Big Stuff” represents something of an anomaly in her career. It emerged only multiple, vigorous recording sessions. Her difficulties in the studio seemed to mirror those in her personal life, as Holiday was struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.
The song itself was composed by Leonard Bernstein for his 1944 ballet “Fancy Free”. Once Holliday’s version was released, it was featured in the opening scene, playing from a juxebox.
This episode was written in part by Syracuse University student Sarah Detweiler, as part of the Sound Beat Class Partnership project. To learn more about the Partnership, click here!