West Philly Native Billie Holiday to Receive Plaque on Philadelphia Walk of Fame [UPDATED]
UPDATE [4/8/2015, 10:15 am] In a previous version of this story we mentioned that All That Jazz director Faye Anderson nominated Billie Holiday for a plaque on the Walk of Fame. Philadelphia Music Alliance Board President Alan Rubens reached out with a statement to say that wasn’t the case. His words: “Please allow me to set the record straight. Billie Holiday’s nomination was generated internally by our chairman emeritus, Joe Tarsia, in 2014, and voted upon by our Board at that time. Our last induction took place in 2013, and the PMA took a year off from having a Walk of Fame induction ceremony in 2014 as we reorganized our board, elected new officers, and added a new fully active advisory board. During our reorganization, we decided it would be fitting to withhold the announcement until Billie’s 100th birthday this year, and at the same time, get a jump on our full announcement of the rest of the 2015 induction class, coming in late May. “
ORIGINAL: Jazz great Billie Holiday would have been 100 years old today. You’ve likely heard her voice—it’s one of the most unique in the history of recorded music—but did you know about her long history with Philadelphia?
She was born at Philadelphia General Hospital in 1915 and, as All That Jazz director Faye Anderson told CBS Philly, she kept returning to Philadelphia throughout her life—especially in her later years when her famed drug abuse caused New York to revoke her cabaret card.
“Philly was one of the few places where she could work,” Anderson said. “Philadelphia played such a key role in her story and in her career it’s mind-boggling that she does not have a plaque on the Walk of Fame.”
That’s all about to change. Anderson told CBS she nominated Holiday for a plaque on the Philadelphia Walk of Fame along Broad Street today, and, coincidentally it was announced later this afternoon that Philadelphia Music Alliance has named the singer the first inductee of 2015.
“The Philadelphia Music Alliance wanted to present what we think is a perfect birthday gift to an extraordinary vocalist, Billie Holiday, and announce her induction on her 100th birthday,” chairman Alan Rubens said in a press release.
The Philadelphia Music Alliance will announce other inductees in late-May.