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The lemon tree song

Updated on July 23, 2012



The history of the Lemon Tree song

The iconic song "Lemon Tree" was originally written by Will Holt, though it was based off of the Brazilian folk song "Meu limao, meu limoeiro"  which was made into a hit in Brazil by Wilson Simonal. In 1962 it became an American hit when it was covered by the folk group Peter, Paul, and Mary. Here is a video:

"Lemon Tree" by Peter, Paul, and Mary

Lemon Tree lyrics

The lyrics are as follows:

"When I was just a lad of ten, my father said to me

come here and take a lesson from the lovely lemon tree

Don't put your faith in love, my boy, my father said to me

I fear you'll find that love is like the lovely lemon tree


(Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet

But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat) (2x)


One day beneath the lemon tree my love and I did lie

A girl so sweet that when she smiled, the stars rose in the sky

We past that summer lost in love beneath the lemon tree

The music of her laughter hid my fathers word from me


One day she left without a word, She took away the sun

And in the dark she left behind I knew what she had done

She left me for another, It's a common tale but true

A sadder man but wiser, I sing these words to you



History, continued

The song went on to be covered by Bob Marley and the Wailers, Trini Lopez, Roger Whittaker, The Seekers, and many others in the years that followed. It was also later used in pledge commercials. 

The song's influence is probably also responsible for the naming of the 90's pop band "The Lemon Trees" and the 2008 film "Lemon Tree" by Eran Riklis. 

The song shares it's name with a seemingly unrelated 1996 Britpop single by Fools Garden. But, if you watch the video below, you might just feel a little of the classic song's influence....

Lemon Tree, by Fools Garden


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    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      I attended a Peter , Paul and Mary concert when they were popular. It's great to hear this again.

      It’s great to see a new HUBBER and welcome to HUB writing. I found I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I must give this an “Up ONE and awesome.” I'm always your fan! RJ

      Based upon your HUB, you might enjoy this HUB…

    • rick combe profile image

      rick combe 6 years ago from USA

      Glad I could help Dave. I'ts ok Snakeslane, when I saw the word typo I just assumed it was mine!

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Nice job Rick! The song remembers when! This was one of the fist songs I learned to play on the piano...and I always thought it was odd how the lyrics went. Today... you solved that mystery for me... Its not originally an English language song. When I read it was from Brazil it suddenly made perfect sense! voted up.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 6 years ago from Canada

      it was my typo... i misspelled lyricks, sorry rick, too funny

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 6 years ago from Canada

      typo on lyrics, oops.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 6 years ago from Canada

      This is cool rick combe the way you connected the original lemon tree song and lyricks with the Fools Garden song, seems like a natural evolution of the theme, so sad. Regards, snakeslane