Green, Green Grass of Home
|"Green, Green Grass of Home"|
|Single by Porter Wagoner|
|from the album On the Road: The Porter Wagoner Show|
|Porter Wagoner singles chronology|
|"Green, Green Grass of Home"|
|Single by Tom Jones|
|from the album Green, Green Grass of Home|
|B-side||Promise Her Anything|
|Label||Decca Records F22511|
|Tom Jones singles chronology|
"Green, Green Grass of Home", written by Claude "Curly" Putman, Jr. and first recorded by singer Johnny Darrell, is a country song originally made popular by Porter Wagoner in 1965, when it reached No. 4 on the country chart. That same year it was sung by Bobby Bare, and later Tom Jones, in 1966, when it became a worldwide No. 1 hit. The song had also been recorded the previous year in 1965 by Jerry Lee Lewis, and included on his album Country Songs For City Folks (later re-issued as All Country), and Jones had learned the song from Lewis's version.
A man returns to his childhood home; it seems that this is his first visit home since leaving in his youth. When he steps down from the train, his parents are there to greet him, and his beloved, Mary, comes running to join them. All is welcome and peace; all come to meet him with "arms reaching, smiling sweetly." With Mary the man strolls at ease among the monuments of his childhood, including "the old oak tree that I used to play on." It is "good to touch the green, green grass of home." Yet the music and the words are full of foreshadowing, strongly suggestive of mourning.
Abruptly, the man switches from song to speech as he awakens in prison: "Then I awake and look around me, at four grey walls that surround me. And I realize that I was only dreaming." He is, indeed, on death row. As the singing resumes, we learn that the man is waking on the day of his scheduled execution ("there's a guard, and there's a sad old padre, arm in arm, we'll walk at daybreak"), and he will return home only to be buried: "Yes, they'll all come to see me in the shade of that old oak tree, as they lay me 'neath the green, green grass of home."
The Joan Baez version ends: "Yes, we'll all be together in the shade of the old oak tree / When we meet beneath the green, green grass of home."
Tom Jones version
Welsh singer Tom Jones, who was appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1965, visited Colony Records while staying in New York City. On asking if they had any new works by Jerry Lee Lewis, he was given the new country album.
Impressed with the song, Jones recorded and released the song in the UK in 1966 and it reached No. 1 on 1 December, staying there for a total of seven weeks. The song has sold 1.23 million copies in the UK as of November 2012. Jones' version also reached #11 pop, #12 easy listening on the Billboard US charts.
In February 2009, Jones performed the song live on a special Take-Away Show with Vincent Moon, along with "If He Should Ever Leave You" and "We Got Love", live in front of a camera in a hotel room in New York.
In September 2006, Jones performed the song as a duet with Jerry Lee Lewis during the taping of the latter's Last Man Standing TV special in New York City, and credited Lewis with providing the inspiration behind his own recording.
Jones sang the song on the 2009/10 edition of Jool's Annual Hootenanny on 1 January 2010.
Other cover versions
Since then it has been a popular cover song recorded by many such as:
- 1965: Bobby Bare
- 1966: Charley Pride on the album Country
- 1967 The Statler Brothers on their album Sing the big hits.
- 1967: Roger Miller on his album Walkin' in the Sunshine
- 1967: A Serbo-Croatian language version by Miki Jevremović as Zelena Zelena Trava Doma Mog ...Diskos – EDK-3068 Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM, EP, Mono
- 1967: A Swedish version by Stig Anderson as "En sång en gång för längesen", of which both Björn Ulvaeus' Hootenanny Singers and Jan Malmsjö each had a 1967 Svensktoppen hit with, for six and 33 weeks respectively.
- 1967: Dalida, under the name of Les grilles de ma maison, disc (Super 45 t : 71167)
- 1967: Dean Martin on the album Welcome to My World
- 1967: Jürgen Herbst recorded a German coverversion Der Weg zurück nach Haus' (CBS 2529)
- 1967: Agnaldo Timóteo, Brazilian singer, recorded the song on the album Obrigado Querida (Odeon – MOFB 3488), under the name of Os Verdes Campos Da Minha Terra, lyrics in Portuguese by Geraldo Figueiredo
- 1967: Nana Mouskouri under the name of "Le toit de ma maison" on the album Le Jour où la colombe
- 1968: Johnny Cash on the album Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison
- 1968: Frankie Laine on the album "To Each His Own"
- 1968: Merle Haggard on the album Mama Tried
- 1968: Hank Snow on the album Hits, Hits, and more Hits
- 1968: Porter Wagoner on the album Green Green Grass of Home
- 1968: Trini Lopez on Welcome to Trini Country
- 1968: Pozo-Seco Singers on Shades of Time
- 1968: Pavel Novák Czech singer as Vím, že jen sním
- 1969: Joan Baez on the album David's Album
- 1971: Stompin' Tom Connors (a parody version as "The Green, Green Grass of Home, No. 2") on the album Stompin' Tom Connors, 'LIVE' at the Horseshoe
- 1972: The Fatback Band on the album Let's Do It Again
- 1972: George Jones on the album Take Me
- 1975: Elvis Presley on the album Today
- 1976: Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers on the album Sleepless Nights
- 1977: Kenny Rogers on the album, Kenny Rogers
- 1986: Nick Cave quotes from the song in the opening line of 'Sad Waters' on the album Your Funeral, My Trial
- 1986: Ted Hawkins on the album On the Boardwalk (The Venice Beach Tapes)
- 1993: Dennis Brown on the album The General
- 1993: Riblja Corba as "Zelena trava doma mog" on the album Zbogom Srbijo
- 2006: Katherine Jenkins on the album Serenade
- 2008: Mike Farris on the album Shout! Live
- Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 106. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
- Porter Wagoner's "Green, Green Grass of Home" Chart Position Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- Tom Jones, "The Green Green Grass Of Home" Video Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- "All the Number One Singles - 1966". Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
- "Green, Green Grass of Home (song by Tom Jones) • Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Musicvf.com. 1966-12-24. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Un invité (2009-02-09). "Tom Jones - La Blogothèque". Blogotheque.net. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 198–9. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Svensktoppen : 1967-01-07". Sr.se. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Tom Jones: Green, Green Grass of Home (1966 single)" at Discogs (list of releases)
- BBC Interview with Tom Jones re. song "Green Green Grass of Home".
- Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
The Beatles "Day Tripper"/"We Can Work It Out"
|UK Christmas Number One single "Green, Green Grass of Home"
by Tom Jones
| Succeeded by|
The Beatles "Hello, Goodbye"
by The Beach Boys
|UK number one single
by Tom Jones
3 December 1966 (for 7 weeks)
| Succeeded by|
"I'm a Believer" by The Monkees