Billie Holiday, Roots headline Philly Walk of Fame 2015 Class

    Billie Holiday

    Billie Holiday

    Philadelphia will honor seven legends of the local music scene this fall.

    Thursday, the Philadelphia Music Alliance announced its 2015 inductees to the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame. Two names stand out on the list — one who reached the height of her popularity nearly 70 years ago. The other has just recently reached international star status.


    Born in Philadelphia in 1915, Billie Holiday didn’t stay long. She spent much of her early childhood in Baltimore, then moved to Harlem and dropped out of school at age 11.

    The talented vocalist catapulted to stardom in the 1930s with hits such as “Summertime,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” and “Miss Brown to You.”

    Considered one of the best jazz singers of all time, Holiday’s life and career were cut short by struggles with drugs and alcohol. She died at just 44.

    Philadelphia music icon Kenny Gamble, who came of age in a later musical era, said he never got the chance to meet Holiday.

    “But I enjoyed her artistry. And I think it’s just great,” he said.”

    A band being honored has been on the cusp of mainstream stardom for decades, but it’s only in the past few years that it’s truly gotten its due.

    It was considered a risky move when The Roots, the Philadelphia hip-hop group with a mighty underground following, took a nightly gig as Jimmy Fallon’s house band on “Late Night.” The Roots moved with him over to “The Tonight Show,” and now everyone knows about the band.

    Other inductees include Ray Benson, the 6-foot-7 front man for the country band Asleep at the Wheel; Andrea McArdle, Broadway’s original Annie; The Trammps, who earned a Grammy for “Disco Inferno”; and ’80s hair band Cinderella.

    WOGL’s longtime midday DJ, Harvey Holiday, also will be inducted. Separate from the Walk of Fame class, the alliance is also honoring Philly Pops President Frank Giordano and the CAPA Foundation for its support of Philadelphia’s high school for the arts.

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