The Strange Story Of The Man Behind 'Strange Fruit' One of Billie Holiday's most iconic songs is "Strange Fruit," a haunting protest against the inhumanity of … Surprisingly, Meeropol was … Between its sparse, unconventional arrangement and vivid lyrics, her recording of “Strange Fruit” became a sensation and a hit for Holiday when it was released by Commodore that year. "Strange Fruit," written by Jewish schoolteacher Abel Meeropol in 1937, takes a harrowing and unflinching look at American racism. The poem refers to lynching, which is the act of hanging African Americans, slaves and other protestors in public venues for a spectacle. When the song “Strange Fruit” is broken down and analyzed we see a poem with a small form, slow homophonic rhythm, raw texture, and meaningful lyrics, but when we put the piece together as a whole, “Strange Fruit” is shown to be one of the most popular and lasting protest pieces of our time. It is called Strange Fruit and it will, even after the tenth hearing, make you blink and hold to your chair. "Strange Fruit" is a song recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939, written by Abel Meeropol and published in 1937. Lynching was a practice that involved mob-style execution without trial, most often by hanging, and most often of … The poem “Strange Fruit” by Abel Meeropol is very dark and twisted as it paints a mental picture of past events in southern USA. "Strange Fruit" was an early cry for civil rights—some might even say it was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Evolution Of A Song: 'Strange Fruit' In the hands of many singers, "Strange Fruit" feels like a period piece, more of a memorial than a protest song. In 1999, Time magazine voted Strange Fruit the Song of the Century. It protests the lynching of Black Americans, with lyrics that compare the victims to the fruit of trees.Such lynchings had reached a peak in the Southern United States at the turn of the 20th century, and the great majority of victims were black. Samuel Grafton of the New York Post had the best review of it. image caption April Shipp has sewn the names of 5000 people who were lynched … Record producer Ahmet Ertegun called the song "a declaration of war," and jazz writer Leonard Feather said it was "the first significant protest in … Time called the performance "throat-tightening". Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit” Source: William P. Gottlieb “Strange Fruit” was written by Abel Meeropol, a white English teacher from New York City, as a protest against the horrors of lynching. Even now, as I think of it, the short hair on the back of my neck tightens and I want to hit somebody. "This is about a phonograph record which has obsessed me for two days. The poem specifically focuses on the horrific lynchings that took place primarily across the American South, in which black individuals were brutally tortured and murdered—and often strung up from trees to be gawked at—by white supremacists. "By the time I started on Strange Fruit," she wrote, "between the sweat and blood, I was a mess."