Sound Recording, "Strange Fruit"

Description (Brief)
Billie Holiday (1915–1959,) an African American jazz singer nicknamed Lady Day, emerged on the jazz scene after a difficult and impoverished upbringing. Known for her light, rhythmic singing, Holiday performed with some of the most famous American jazz musicians throughout the 1930s and 1940s. She first performed “Strange Fruit,” a song written by a Jewish poet about the lynching of African Americans, at the Café Society club in 1939. Her performances of the song were filled with emotion, and the recording reached number 16 on the charts. Holiday went on to release a number of other hits, but “Strange Fruit” remained the best-selling record of her career.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
sound recording
date made
1939
recording artist
Billie Holiday and her Orchestra
composer
Allan, Lewis
manufacturer
Commodore
Physical Description
shellac (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 10 in; x 25.4 cm
place made
United States: New York, New York
ID Number
1996.3034.11383
nonaccession number
1996.3034
catalog number
1996.3034.11383
label number
526
subject
Music
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Entertainment
Music & Musical Instruments
1939 exhibit
Popular Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Robert B. Campbell in memory of Dorothy and William Campbell
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.