Question by jimmytyler: Any information on Billie Holliday’s “Love for Sale”?
TIME Music’s 25 Unforgettable Songs CD: Volume 4, sports a very eerie song called “Love for Sale”, sung by Billie Holliday. I’m quite fond of this song, especially with the knowledge of Billie’s own personal life, and would like to know more about the song, but all I can ever find on the internet are the lyrics to the song. Anyone have anything more in depth on this song, by any chance?

Best answer:

Answer by racer 51
i don’t have any info myself but, try looking up her bio or that of the person who wrote the song. she didn’t write her own music but it’s strange ,sometimes, how the music an artist records can be so similar to their own life.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Any information on Billie Holliday’s “Love for Sale”?”

  1. It’s a Cole Porter song

    from the Musical ‘The New Yorkers’

    The New Yorkers, a musical revue in two acts with songs by Cole Porter, opened in Newark, NJ, before moving to New York for a run of 163 shows in 1930. The plot involved high society dames with low-life gangsters during Prohibition and ended in a wedding with the bridesmaids carrying bombs in their bouquets. The musical featured 11 new songs by Porter, nearly all of which are as completely forgotten as the show (“Sing Sing for Sing Sing” and “Say It With Gin,” anyone?). One unlikely song from the musical, however, has attained the status of a standard. Sung by a prostitute named May, “Love for Sale” is as cynical a song as has ever been written. Porter’s lyrics are dark but honest — “old love, new love, any love but true love” — and his music is darker, moving from the tonic major to the subdominant minor and back, alternating between major and minor throughout the song but always emphasizing the flat side of the circle of fifths at cadences. The melody is a simple repeated note for the refrain, with a rising phrase at the end that almost promises real love sinks down to the tonic at its close for more love for sale.

  2. It was actually written by Cole Porter, who wrote it for the 1930 musical ‘The New Yorkers’ at a time when Billie Holliday was 15 years old and neither famous nor a professional singer, so it wasn’t written either about or specifically for her, obviously.

    Because it was written from the point of view of a prostitute, it was banned from being performed on many radio stations for decades. See the link below for more information.

  3. bix and lex pretty much covered the song’s history, so i’ll contribute a little on the version i think you’re referring to. if it’s just billie in a duet with piano, it’s from a session cut in the spring of 1952 for clef records with oscar peterson on piano. it’s on a cd called “solitude” and it’s well worth getting. most of the songs on the cd are sad ballads, and billie’s performances of them are heartbreakingly beautiful.

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