Holiday #4

“Don’t Explain”

Written by Billie Holiday and as she did on most of her songs collaborated with Arthur Herzog. The lyrics are deeply personal, coming from her knowledge that her husband Jimmy Monroe was sleeping with other women. Always delivered with that haunting intensity this song has inspired 260 versions to date. It was recorded in 1945 and released in June of 1946. It would be the last song she wrote.

There are so many remarkable covers of this song that it was impossible for me to choose just one to post. However, Nina Simone is where I often land, I don’t think I have to “explain” that…

This song has dozens of instrumentals, once again there are so many versions from artists on my favorites list.

You may recognize the name Don Shirley if you watched The Green Book, here he plays a medley of her songs including “Don’t Explain” and is accompanied by bassist Ken Fricker and cellist Juri Taht.

I will provide a couple of links at the end to other covers but as I said it was so hard to chose; here are the sublime Chet Baker from his tribute album, Bakers Holiday (1965) and Saxophone great Dexter Gordon from 1964.

More links: Herbie Hancock feat. Lisa Hannigan and Damien Rice, Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa, Grover Washington Jr. and the always amazing Molly Johnson.

3 thoughts on “Holiday #4

    • Very true, you can hear and if there’s video see how her performance changed slightly. She was the consummate professional even when under the effects of her addictions. However it caught with her as you eluded too.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s