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Strange Fruit: the first great protest song

by Dorian Lynskey
Billie Holiday's 1939 song about racist lynchings stunned audiences and redefined popular music. In an extract from 33 Revolutions Per Minute, his history of protest songs, Dorian Lynskey explores the chilling power of Strange Fruit
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday • 49 weeks ago

Billie Holiday in concert in Britain, 1954. Her later performances of Strange Fruit could be agonising to watch. Photograph: Charles H Hewit...