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The song continues to be covered by numerous artists, including Nina Simone, UB40, Jeff Buckley, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Dee Dee Bridgewater and has inspired novels, other poems, and other creative works.
In 1978, Holiday's version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Harburg referred to the song as a "historical document." Though Meeropol had asked others (notably Earl Robinson) to set his poems to music, he set "Strange Fruit" to music himself.
Holiday first performed the song at Cafe Society in 1939.
She said that singing it made her fearful of retaliation but, because its imagery reminded her of her father, she continued to sing the piece, making it a regular part of her live performances.
Columbia gave Holiday a one-session release from her contract so she could record it; Frankie Newton's eight-piece Cafe Society Band was used for the session.The version of the song featured on the soundtrack notably includes a small scene where Le Fou tries to spell Gaston's name. This scene was cut from the film's version, however. It was sung to cheer up Gaston after Belle rejects his marriage proposal, and was started by Lefou. No one's slick as Gaston No one's quick as Gaston No one's neck's as incredibly thick as Gaston's For there's no man in town half as manly! Le Fou: You can ask any Tom, Dick or Stanley And they'll tell you whose team they prefer to be on Le Fou and Chorus: Who plays darts like Gaston Who breaks hearts like Gaston Le Fou: Who's much more than the sum of his parts like Gaston? It is most famous for the memetic phrase "No one [verb]s like Gaston," which became so popular it even appeared as Gaston's catchphrase in House of Mouse.