Lady Sings the Blues is the soundtrack to the Billie Holiday biopic of the same name, which starred Diana Ross in her 1972 screen debut. It became Ross' fourth #1 album (eventually selling over 2 million US copies), though the only one as a solo artist. It was certified gold in the UK for sales of over 100,000 copies. It was the fourth best-selling R&B album and fifth best-selling Pop album of 1973 in the US.
Music writers said Ross emulated Billie Holiday's voice while retaining her own individual sound. This soundtrack album was the only Motown album to have a special designed label to match the album cover on the vinyl release, rather than Motown's usual "Map of Detroit" design. This label design would also turn up on the single releases from the soundtrack.