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Nicknamed "Lady Day", Billie Holiday (1915-1959) was a popular jazz singer. Her early life was tragic and her drug abuse cut her life short, but she remains famous for her powerful yet vulnerable voice, her persona, and her fearless advocacy of civil rights with such songs as "Strange Fruit."
Notable for "Strange Fruit"(which took considerable balls considering this was way before the Civil Rights Movement), "Summertime" and "Easy Living".
Tropes Found in Billie Holiday's Life and Works:
- Berserk Button: Racism seemed to be one.
- Broken Bird: Where to begin?
- Crowning Music of Awesome: Plenty.
- Flower in Her Hair: Signature look.
- Mondegreen: "God Bless The Child"'s lines "Mama may have, Papa may have" could be heard as "Mama Mayhem, Papa Mayhem".
- Nightmare Fuel: "Strange Fruit". Made worse in that it's based on an actual lynching.
- Older Than You Think: People tend to forget that the inextricable link between music and drugs long predates rock 'n' roll - or recorded music for that matter. Holiday was arrested on her deathbed for heroin possession.
- Protest Song: "Strange Fruit" was a early example and was daring for its time.
- Tough Act to Follow: Invoked. "Strange Fruit" was contractually required to be the last song Billie Holiday would ever perform in a night - no encores. Waiters would not serve patrons, and the only light would be a spotlight on Lady Day's face.