Lemon Tree (Will Holt song)

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"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 song compares 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 Mary, Chad & Jeremy, The Kingston Trio, The Seekers, Bob Marley and The Wailers, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Sandie Shaw, and Roger Whittaker. In 1965, Trini Lopez recorded the most successful version of the song which hit number twenty on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Billboard Middle Road Singles chart.[2][3]

In the 1960s, the tune was used in television advertisements for "Lemon Pledge", an aerosol furniture 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 of F 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's book 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 mate starts softly singing "Lemon Tree". The song provides the title and epigraph of Andrea Levy's 1999 novel, Fruit of the Lemon. It was also referenced in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond's third season entitled "The Visit", where Ray changes the words to "Lemon chicken very pretty, and the lemon chicken is sweet, but the chicken of the poor lemon is impossible to eat,' while the family is eating lemon chicken.


  1. ^ Meu limão, meu limoeiro - MPB CIFRANTIGA
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 149. 
  3. ^ "Middle-Road Singles", Billboard, February 20, 1965. p. 46

See also[edit]