Leonard Cohen once said, “Music is the emotional life of most people.” Music often tells a story, expresses emotion, or shares ideas with a society, and many musical greats use the humble citrus fruit to convey these factors. Here we’ve gathered some songs that use citrus fruit to suggest larger ideas related to them, whether it be a simple colour association, or a way to evoke an emotion that listeners can relate to.
How well do you recognise the use of citrus fruit in these songs?
A REPRESENTATION OF A DREAMY WORLD
- City of Dreams. Ben Harper & Ellen Harper, 2014: citrus groves, and orange blossoms paint a nostalgic picture of a city that is no longer, due to industrialisation.
- Over the Rainbow. Judy Garland, 1939: the song from the film The Wizard of Oz wistfully sings of a place where lemon drops take on an almost angelic quality with the ability to melt away the world’s troubles.
- Easy Plateau. Ryan Adams, 2005: the song draws an image of an idyllic place where one would rather be where there are orange blossoms and orange groves.
- Southern Accents. Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, 1985, also Johnny Cash, 1996: orange groves create the image of a warm city in the song, perhaps suggesting also a longing for emotional warmth and tenderness.
- Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. The Beatles, 1967: the wonderfully colourful imaginary world conveyed by the song is aided by the use of tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
CITRUS THAT CAPTURES EMOTION AND MEMORY
- Lemon. U2, 1993: a beautiful song by Bono dedicated to his mother, after seeing her in a video of when she was 24, dancing at a wedding in a lemon yellow dress. The song is about memory and loss and all of these emotions, to Bono, was captured in the lemon yellow dress.
- The Lemon Song. Led Zeppelin, 1969: this true classic rock track from the Led Zeppelin II album sings about lemons, but don’t assume he simply means lemon juice by his reference to such.
- Tangerine. Led Zeppelin, 1970: in contrast to The Lemon Song, this is a song about innocent love, represented by the lively tangerine fruit. It was also aptly used at the end of the movie Almost Famous, 2000.
CITRUS USED FOR ITS COLOUR VALUE
- Beautiful Land. Nina Simone, 1965: the beautiful voice of Nina Simone lulls the listener’s ears with this song that uses citrus’ vivid colours to bring life to the description of another world.
- Voyage of the Moon. Donovan, 1971: the Scottish folk singer adds romance to a moonlit scene using a lemon peel to describe the colour of the moon, and that also curves like a boat on the water.