Photo: Carl van Vechten, 1949. (Wikimedia Commons)

Yesterday would have been Billie Holiday’s 97th birthday.  Most of us know something of her short life and long legacy, but it may come as a surprise that she wrote songs as well as she sang them.


These lines are hers:


Them that’s got shall have
Them that’s not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own


As are these:


Tell me more and more and then some
The way that you feel and then
When you’ve told that old sweet story
And you’re through, start right in again



In this season of worship and considering blessings, we salute one of the great blessings to American music, an object of worship in her time and a lasting voice in ours.


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