Popular Music Wiki

"Lemon Tree" is a folk song written by Will Holt in the late 1950s. The tune is based on the Brazilian folk song Meu limão, meu limoeiro, arranged by José Carlos Burle in 1937 and made popular by Brazilian singer Wilson Simonal.[1] The songCOMPARES love to a lemon tree: "Lemon tree very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat."

The song has been recorded by Peter, Paul and MaryChad & JeremyThe Kingston TrioThe SeekersBob Marley and The WailersHerb Alpert and the Tijuana BrassSandie Shaw, and Roger Whittaker. In 1965, Trini Lopez recorded the most successful version of the song which hit number twenty on the Hot 100 and number two on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart.[2]

In the 1960s, the tune was used in television advertisements for "Lemon Pledge", an aerosolFURNITURE polish. In the early 1980s it was used as the advertising jingle for an identically named lemonade beverage.

The song was referenced in the Seinfeld episode "The Phone Message", and in Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin. It was performed on an episode ofF Troop in which the main characters anachronistically form a rock band. It figures prominently in the Eran Riklis film, Lemon Tree (Etz Limon). The song was also referenced in Tim O'Brien'sBOOK The Things They Carried; when a fellow soldier named Curt Lemon steps on a booby trap and gets blown into a tree, it is the unsavory job of the protagonist and a squad mate to bring the pieces down. The main character is mildly shocked when his squad mateSTARTS softly singing "Lemon Tree". The song provides the title and epigraph of Andrea Levy's 1999 novel, Fruit of the Lemon.