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Meet Amazing Americans Musicians & Composers Duke Ellington
 
Portrait of Billy Strayhorn, New York, N.Y., ca. June 1947.
Billy Strayhorn looks over some music in New York, 1947

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Duke's Band
Ellington may not have needed help writing music, but his partnership with Billy Strayhorn is considered one of the most important in American music. Strayhorn, who joined the band in 1939, composed and co-wrote some of the most famous pieces associated with Ellington, including the band's theme song, "Take the 'A' Train." Their partnership worked so smoothly that they were even able to write songs over the telephone. In his autobiography, Music Is My Mistress, Ellington refers to Strayhorn as "...my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brainwaves in his head, and his in mine."
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