SONG OF THE DAY: Strange Fruit



Performed by: Billie Holiday


Written by: American writer, teacher and songwriter Abel Meeropol, under his pseudonym Lewis Allan


Released in: 1939


The story behind the song:

The song was first written as a poem in 1937 and published under the title ‘Bitter Fruit’ in The New York Teacher, a union magazine. It is a protest against American racism and lynchings.




Southern trees bear strange fruit

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root

Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant south

The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth

Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh

Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck

For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck

For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop

Here is a strange and bitter crop


Some famous covers:

Nina Simone:

Jeff Buckley: