Billie Holiday, Original, Rare, 1958 ‘Phantom’ Concert Handbill, Royal Festival Hall, Sunday June 8 , accompanied by Kenny Baker’s Dozen, produced by Harold Davison.
In the spring of 1958, late in her life, Billie Holiday was offered a European tour, which was to include recording sessions in French studios for her forthcoming album, Lady Sings The Blues, and a three-week booking in Paris at the Olympia Theatre. Donald Clarke’s excellent biography of Holiday, Wishing On The Moon, tells us that on the back of Billie’s extended European engagements, British promoter Harold Davison announced that she would play a single concert in the UK, at the Royal Festival Hall, backed by the fine British trumpeter, Kenny Baker, and his band. It was to be just a single performance, scheduled for 3 pm, Sunday, June 8, but when the Algerian Crisis arose in mid-May 1958, the French Government, among other security measures, forced the closure of all French concert halls which led to the cancellation of Holiday’s tour and subsequently the single concert booking in London. The French political crisis had moved so swiftly that this rare handbill had already been printed for the London engagement, which was never to take place. Holiday did return once more to Europe in Oct 1958, for a long and sometimes disastrous tour of Italy and France, but did not appear in the UK; despite the best efforts of British writer and critic Max Jones to secure her some concert appearances, nobody seemed to want to book Billie in England. Although she was to make one last trip to the UK, it was for a brief television appearance on Granada TV’s popular variety show, Chelsea at Nine, produced in Feb. 1959, and broadcast in March of that year, just months before her tragic death on July 17, 1959.
5” by 8.25” single sheet, printed in black and white to recto only on off-white stock, just a hint of creasing to top and bottom right tips of recto, else, fine, remarkably bright, clean and unmarked. This is a rare gem of Billie Holiday ephemera, in collector’s condition. J1732