Prse cats shined on me lyrics by Billy Holiday
"Prse" is a song written by Billy Holiday, published in 1946 and recorded by Gladys Holiday, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie and others, but never hits.
In contrast to "God Bless the Child", the author and singer's only significant success, this number is a lament of hope and salvation from the despr and sorrow of her life. She was a heroin addict, and her voice is ravaged with the ravages of drug use. While Holiday recorded the song twice with vocals, the vocalist in both versions is still undetermined. Billie Holiday performs on the 1946 Brunswick Records single-sided 78 RPM record which was produced by Norman Granz. Holiday's version is in the key of F-sharp major and was recorded on December 8, 1946 in New York City. The title is taken from the famous gospel hymn "Prse, My Soul" and it is not a gospel song. The recording was produced by Norman Granz and engineered by Ralph Peer. Granz had been friends with Holiday and Holiday's mother, who had played piano for him. When he produced Holiday's 1946 Brunswick Records single-sided 78 RPM record, he suggested the song as a "potential [Holiday] hit". The song was Holiday's first single in seven years, after it was recorded, it did not achieve a hit status in the United States. "Prse, My Soul" was written by Holiday, Gladys Bunch, Gladys Holm and Lillian Hardie. The song is about her life in Harlem, where her brother Willie "Piano" Smith played piano and her friend, Althea Gibson, was a competitive tennis player. Holiday also had an abusive boyfriend named Eddie Durham whom she described as a man who would be "like a devil in bed". When singing the chorus, Holiday says the name of her lover, in a way that would make anyone else feel like an "old-fashioned fool", that he is like a "lover who's sweet and nice" and "the one, the only love of my life", and that she "wants to be like my old lady" so she can spend her life with him. While alluding to the lyrics, Holiday also explns the background of the song in which she relates her life with people like her mom and Uncle Willie.
When the song was released in the U.S. in April 1947, Holiday made a few appearances to promote it. Her first appearance was on the Rudy Vallee Show (CBS radio) in New York City. In San Francisco, she made an appearance on the Milton Cross Show (KGNU) and did a performance on a radio station KFOX. Her second appearance was on the Alan Brown Show (CBS radio) in New York City. In April 1947, in Cleveland, Ohio, Holiday performed "Prse, My Soul" on the radio program The American Ballad Hour with Eubie Blake. Holiday would later record the song for her first studio album, Blues in the Closet (1958).
Recognition and influence
After the release of her album, Holiday was the first singer to gn a number one record on the Billboard magazine charts. The song went on to achieve success in other parts of the world including Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, Trinidad and Hti. It was also a number-one hit in Israel and South Africa. In the U.S., the song was a number-three hit on the Billboard magazine charts, and a number one hit on the RPM magazine charts. It would go on to have success in Europe and Latin America as well. According to the book The Great American Songbook: from Broadway to Hollywood, the song is the most performed of all the songs made popular by Holiday. On the Billboard charts, the song remned on the top ten for more than nine weeks. According to Billboard, the song was "at the very peak of her stardom, it was one of the most successful songs ever recorded".
The song was one of several that showcased Holiday's vocal versatility. She has stated that it is her favorite gospel song. Holiday's performance of "Prse, My Soul" was widely acknowledged as being one of the most powerful performances of any African American vocalist. Holiday's vocal abilities were noted for "tremendous power and soul". Critics have noted that Holiday's voice on "Prse, My Soul" contned "a combination of power and soul" and were impressed with her "clear, ringing, resonant tones". She also used her vocal prowess on several other songs, such as "Tell Him I Love Him", "Don't Be Angry" and "You'll Never Get to Heaven", which have been called "masterpieces" by Holiday biographers. She has been called one of the greatest voices in soul music.
In 1954, Holiday was a member of the original cast of the Broadway musical Showboat. As a member of the cast, she performed the song "Hearts and Flowers" during the performance.
Holiday's most commercially successful recordings were her two versions of "Happy Feet", from the jazz album December Songs. The first version of "Happy Feet", entitled "Happy Feet", reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&,B chart on December 5, 1958. The song was a crossover success, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard pop chart. It would go on to reach No. 12 in the UK. The success of this single, along with "Piano Lesson" and "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter", made Holiday the top female vocalist of 1958. Later, Holiday performed "Happy Feet" on other albums, such as I Hear a Symphony. In the same year, she also released her version of the Billy Eckstine standard, "Misty". The single "Happy Feet" was reissued in 1982 and became Holiday's best selling record for almost 20 years.
As her record sales increased in the early 1960s, Holiday and her recording studio began to attract more professional musicians and singers from many different genres, such as Billy Eckstine, Quincy Jones, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Paul Simon. She recorded the standards "My Funny Valentine", "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter", "That Old Devil Called Love", "Don't Be Angry", "You'll Never Get to Heaven", and "L-O-V-E", and other popular songs including "I'm on the Outside (Looking In)" and "Just Another Silly Kiss". In addition to her pop, jazz, and R&,B recordings, Holiday released one single of children's songs, "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In", with a young Frank Sinatra Jr. on lead vocal.
In 1959, she recorded her first album, Merry Christmas, for the new budget Verve Records. During that same year, she appeared in the film Love Is a Ball, in which she sang the song "Just a Little" with Buddy Greco, a former Frank Sinatra bandleader. Holiday later recalled that the song had been written for the actor Henry Fonda, but Sinatra, after seeing it, urged the studio to change the song so he could record it himself with Holiday. After the movie, "Just a Little" became Holiday's first top 20 hit on the Billboard pop charts.
"I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" was the first single to be released from her second album, In Person, Vol. 2 (1960), with the instrumental track "Love for Sale" serving as the B-side. Following its release, Holiday was invited to perform at a White House reception for President John F. Kennedy and his guests.