STRANGE FRUIT * BILLIE HOLIDAY * COMMODORE 526 * USA
Strange Fruit was released as the B side to Fine And Mellow, a hot Swing cut, the record was a hit at the time due to the A side and, although Strange Fruit was highly regarded at the time even Time magazine did a feature on it, over the years the importance of the song has grown to such an extent that it is now rated as one of the most important recordings of the 20th century.
Written, and originally published as a poem, by Abel Meeropol, Strange Fruit is classed as an American civil rights song about the lynching of black men, predominantly, in the Southern States of America. Meeropol, who used the pseudonym "Lewis Allan" set the poem to music and with his wife and the singer Laura Duncan, performed it as a protest song in New York venues.
Columbia, Billie Holiday's record label at the time, refused to record her singing Strange Fruit. Milt Gabler, of The Commodore Music Shop and Commodore Record label agreed to record her; the recording took place on April 20, 1939, with Frank Newton on trumpet and Sonny White playing piano.
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