Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” is now recognized as one of the greatest recordings of all time, being named to the Songs of the Century list by the National Endowment of the Arts. But this powerfully mournful song was almost never made.
Written as a poem by Abel Meeropol, Holiday began to sing it during her concerts in New York nightclubs. Upset at the song’s uncompromising focus upon the daily violence faced by Black Americans in the South, nightclub owners and the government alike worked to ensure Holiday would never be able to play the song again. Her own record label, afraid of retaliation by Southern consumers and radio stations refused to record the song – forcing Holiday to record with a new studio and producer. Almost 85 years after it was made, Strange Fruit stands as a testament to the daily violence of Black life in the South, forcing the listener to confront the stark reality of lynchings in America.
For the Billie Holiday song go to Billie Holiday-Strange fruit- HD – YouTube