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Great Lives

Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday centenary

Billie Holiday was born 100 years ago today, on the 7th April 1915. Her first recording session was in 1933, her last in 1959, the year of her death. The pre-eminent jazz singer of her day, she sold millions of records. But it was her most unlikely hit which she adopted as her signature song.

Photograph of Billie Holiday with dog
Billie Holiday with her dog, Mister, in 1947. Photograph by William P Gottlieb