Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Cafe Society, and an Early Cry for Civil Rights by David Margolick

Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Cafe Society, and an Early Cry for Civil Rights by David Margolick

Author:David Margolick [Margolick, David]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Tags: Music, Individual Composer & Musician, Literary Collections, Essays, test
ISBN: 9780762406777
Google: b-7AbMFQ89IC
Amazon: 0762406771
Publisher: Running Press
Published: 2000-04-05T12:00:00+00:00

"You went on to say how the bitter sorrow of your father's unnecessary death crept into your singing of 'Strange Fruit,'" the letter went on. "You have a tremendous white following, and many white friends in the show business for whom you have a deep affection and didn't want to be bitter, but you

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loved your father. Anyhow, bitterness is not part of your nature. So you put all the bitterness in you into that one song, and that's what helps give it that terrible reality."

Sometimes, she sang it in private homes. Harry Levin, a journalist then helping to run the Office of War Information in New York, recalled how one Saturday evening during the early days of World War II, after her work was done, Holiday unwound in the Greenwich Village apartment of the songwriter Arthur Herzog. Once Herzog began playing his most famous composition, "God Bless the Child," Holiday obligingly started singing it. "But we were not prepared for what followed," Levin recalled more than fifty years later. ''Her face had changed utterly. Her body seemed to spring away from the piano. Her eyes were closed tightly. We were virtually paralyzed as she pulled us into physical contact with every word and gesture of 'Strange Fruit.' We sat stunned, silent, not daring to look at one another. In the midst of World War II, we were fighting to restore freedom. Was Billie reminding us that there was unfinished business which America


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