It’s one of those annoying Government buzzwords so let’s claim it back with a Rainy Days and Songdays Green Lighting megamix around the world. Our favourite songs with ‘green’ in the title and the countries where they transport us.
Down the road I look and there runs Mary, hair of gold and lips like cherries. Green, Green Grass of Home, Tom Jones, Wales:
Now I dare say most homes have green, green grass unless you live in a very hot country and the land is baked brown. But this just feels Welsh.
That is until you get to the rest of the song and realise that it’s a man on Death Row dreaming of home.
Maybe, Mary had a narrow escape after all. We, though will just imagine it as the beautiful
Welsh valleys. Green Cash
The legend is that Johnny was inspired to write this County classic when he looked down from the plane at the patchwork fields of green of Ireland. Forty Shades of Green, Johnny Cash: Arkansas and Ireland:
As a recruiting call for Ireland our pals at
Tourism Ireland would have been proud as in true singer style Johnny namechecks everywhere on the Emerald Island.
Quite who the girl from Tipperary town with the lips like eiderdown is Johnny would never say, perhaps because June would have killed him.
Green Burns Country
Burns Cottage, Alloway,Scotland. https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/robert-burns-birthplace-museum
The sweetest hours that e’er the old poet and ploughman prowler spent were spent among the lasses O. Green Grow The Rashes O, Eddi Reader: Burns and Ayrshire:
The old rogue
Burns was pure rock’n’roll and could pen a lyric and a tune which is probably why he is held in such high regard by the greatest singer-songwriters of the latter half of the 20th century.
Bob Dylan, no less, crediting the Scot as his greatest inspiration. And Henry VIII I am
And another old lothario here with King Henry VIII said to have written this for Anne Boleyn. Greeensleeves, King Henry VIII/Ralph Vaughan Williams, Berkshire:
What better tune then for an English rose to walk up the aisle to in
her home county of Berkshire.
My Scary One has lost her head plenty of times since… but that’s been with me.
Night at the opera: In Prague
No, a non-green tune didn’t slip through. Giuseppe Verdi would actually be Joe Green in English. La Boheme, Giuseppe Verdi: Prague:
The Milanese Verdi had the support of Gaetano Donizetti from nearby Bergamo whom he visited in Vienna which, of course, was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
And that included Bohemia, or the current-day Czech Republic where the thing to do when you’re in Prague is take in a production at the opera house.
Poppies and Green Fields
No Man’s Land
And in the mud of the Somme the soldiers’ minds would drift off to some verdant pasture and memories of precious moments with a loved one. The Green Fields of France, The Fureys and Davey Arthur, The Somme:
Every nation sacrificed its most promising generation in
No Man’s Land but for those from the furthest outposts of Empire… well, it just seems to be all the more pointless to modern sensibilities.
Eric Bogle, a Scots-born Australian, explores the pyschological cost to one survivor ‘young Willie McBride’. And it was all the more poignant after I’d seen the statue of the Scots soldier in northern France.
And another one to make you cry
In the Green Onions, Booker T. & the MGs: Memphis: home of the Blues, Memphis, Booker T & the MGs came up with their signature instrumental tune.
The story goes that the Stax house band were waiting around for the Sun artist and rockabilly singer Billy Lee Riley to turn up and developed the song.
And why Green Onions? Well Booker T. Jones self-deprecatingly said it was because green onions were the nastiest thing he could think of and something you could throw away. We never would.
Ol’ Green Eyes… well, Blue, but!
And a lot more digestible with this old standard covered by all the crooners. Little Green Apples, Frank Sinatra: New Jersey and New York:
But of all the crooners, none compare with the Boy from Hoboken,
New Jersey who made it there in New York, and elsewhere.
And just like Johnny Cash from another song, Frank does his best to include the whole country, in this case America.
So a shout-out to
Disneyland, Doctor Seuss in Springfield Massachussetts.
Indianapolis where it don’t rain in the summertime and Minneapolis where it doesn’t snow when the winter comes. All of which it does to Beret good
Ballad of the Green Beret, Sgt Barry Sadler/ Dolly Parton : Take your pick, the clean-shaven All-American Boy, soldier turned actyor Barry Sadler or Miss American PIe herself, Tennessee’s Dolly.
Either way it’s flag-waving, Americana. And even if you don’t know the song you’ll recognise the tune.
Particularly if you’re a fan of Celtic FC who famously play in green and white hoops and who have adapted the song and lyrics into a favourite fans’ song
With a Four-leaf Clover on My Breast. The evergreen Cliff
And there are few more wholesome and clean-cut than Our Cliff. Green Light, Cliff Richard, India, England, Portugal and Barbados:
The evergreen Cliff belts this one out from the Seventies.
The Peter Pan of Pop who was born in India, grew up in England, and has had homes in
Portugal and Barbados, though he is selling up in Bim (and yes I’m interested).
When it gets the Green Light.