STORY OF SONG
*Please note that this article contains material that some may find triggering*
“Strange Fruit” is a poem written by American-Jewish songwriter and poet Abel Meeropol in 1937, and was famously covered and recorded by Billie Holiday (Eleanora Fagan) in 1939 through Commodore Records.
“Strange Fruit” is essentially a protest song detailing the dark history of lynching of African-Americans in the Southern United States during the Jim Crow era. The lyrics detail black victims as “strange fruit” in the trees. Every time Holiday chose to sing “Strange Fruit” live, she was essentially protesting the treatment of Black and African Americans, despite being threatened.
There is no official music video for “Strange Fruit”, however an audio upload of the track can be found on YouTube user “prokoman1”, whose video has 6.2 million views since its upload in December 2011.
Release Date: 1939
Songwriter: Abel Meeropol
Producer: Milt Gabler
Chart Rankings, Awards and Honours: In 1973, “Strange Fruit” peaked at #108 on the US Billboard chart and spent a total of 21 weeks on the chart. In 1999, Time magazine named the track as the “Best Song of the Century” in its issue dated 31st December 1999; in 2002 the Library of Congress honoured the song as one of the 50 recordings chosen that year to add to the National Recording Registry; in 2010 the New Statesman listed it as one of the “Top 20 Political Songs” and in 2011, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution listed the track as #1 on “100 Songs of the South”.
The lyrics to “Strange Fruit” can be accessed here: LINK