Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Recording artist:
Billie Holiday and her Orchestra  Search this
Allan, Lewis  Search this
Commodore  Search this
Physical Description:
shellac (overall material)
overall: 10 in; x 25.4 cm
Object Name:
sound recording
Place made:
United States: New York, New York City
Date made:
Description (Brief):
<p>Billy Holiday and her Orchestra. side 1: Strange Fruit; side 2: Fine and Mellow (Commodore 526)
78 rpm</p>
</p>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.</p>
Currently not on view
Music  Search this
Related Publication:
Rust, Brian. Jazz Records 1897-1942, Vol. 1
Credit Line:
Gift of Robert B. Campbell in memory of Dorothy and William Campbell
ID Number:
Nonaccession number:
Catalog number:
Label number:
See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Music & Musical Instruments
1939 exhibit
Popular Entertainment
Data Source:
National Museum of American History