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Strange Fruit The Biography of a Song (Paperback)

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Strange Fruit Margolick, David/ Als, Hilton (FRW) 1 of 1
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Learn more about Strange Fruit:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0060959568
ISBN-13: 9780060959562
Sku: 30664721
Publish Date: 2/1/2001
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8.5H x 5.25L x 0.5T
Pages:  168
Age Range:  NA
See more in Composers & Musicians
 
AS BILLIE HOLIDAY later told the story, a single gesture by a patron at a New York nightclub called Café Society changed the history of American music that night in early 1939, the night that she first sang "Strange Fruit." (from the first line)
Southern trees Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black body 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 magnolia sweet and fresh, And the sudden smell of burning flesh!| Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop, Here is a strange and bitter crop.
Recorded by jazz legend Billie Holiday in 1939, "Strange Fruit" is considered the first significant song of the civil rights movement and the first musical assault against racial lynchings. The author discusses his revealing account of the song, chronicles the civil rights movement from the 1930s on, and profiles Holiday and songwriter, Abel Meeropol. Photos.
From the Publisher:

Recorded by jazz legend Billie Holiday in 1939, "Strange Fruit" is considered to be the first significant song of the civil rights movement and the first direct musical assault upon racial lynchings in the South. Originally sung in New York's Cafe Society, these revolutionary lyrics take on a life of their own in this revealing account of the song and the struggle it personified. Strange Fruit not only chronicles the civil rights movement from the '30s on, it examines the lives of the beleaguered Billie Holiday and Abel Meeropol, the white Jewish schoolteacher and communist sympathizer who wrote the song that would have an impact on generations of fans, black and white, unknown and famous, including performers Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt, and Sting.

Recorded by jazz legend Billie Holiday in 1939, "Strange Fruit" is considered to be the first significant song of the civil rights movement and the first direct musical assault upon racial lynchings in the South. Originally sung in New York's Cafe Society, these revolutionary lyrics take on a life of their own in this revealing account of the song and the struggle it personified. Strange Fruit not only chronicles the civil rights movement from the '30s on, it examines the lives of the beleaguered Billie Holiday and Abel Meeropol, the white Jewish schoolteacher and communist sympathizer who wrote the song that would have an impact on generations of fans, black and white, unknown and famous, including performers Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt, and Sting.

Annotation:
Perhaps the most legendary, and controversial Billie Holiday song is one written for her by a New York Jewish schoolteacher called Abel Meeropol. "Strange Fruit" is a lacerating condemnation of Southern racism and its lynch mobs, its stark, brutal imagery in high contrast to the New York café society milieu in which it was first presented. The significance of the song, the way it came to be written, and the reception it gained on its initial performance, are all the subjects of David Margolick's STRANGE FRUIT: THE BIOGRAPHY OF A SONG, a sweeping, impassioned analysis of the times in which "Strange Fruit" gained prominence. The fortuitous pairing of Meeropol's lyrics with Holiday's fragile, sensitive delivery made the song a civil rights anthem in embryo, a full 16 years before Rosa Parks made her celebrated refusal to move to the back of a Montgomery, Alabama bus. A testament of the power of a simple song to generate controversy and create the atmosphere for change, STRANGE FRUIT also harks back to an era when unbridled social criticism was seen as something to be encouraged, not hushed up behind closed doors.

Praise

Chicago Tribune
"David Margolick, in his marvelous book-length essay on the song, explains that despite [Billie Holiday's] claims later in life, Holiday did not write 'Strange Fruit,' nor was it written for her." - Ben Winters 4/30/2000

Publishers Weekly
"[A] superb piece of cultural history." 2/28/00

New York Times
"There is a tendency in contemporary cultural criticism to make the critic the star and to drown the artwork in a torrent of description, commentary and evaluation. Margolick, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, wisely cedes the spotlight to Holiday, Meeropol, the musicians who worked with them and those who heard the song. Like Holiday's performance, Margolick's book is understated but intense, suffused with grace, power and dignity. It works on several levels: as tribute, elegy, homage and cultural history.' - David Nasaw 5/21/00

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0168
Product attributePublisher:   Harper Perennial
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