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|
|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 and first recorded by singer Johnny Darrell, is a country song originally made popular by Porter Wagoner in 1965, where it reached #4 on the country chart.1 It was sung later by Tom Jones in 1966 where it reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart. 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' 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 execution2 ("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."
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 #1 on 3 December, staying there for a total of seven weeks.3 The song has sold 1.23 million copies in the UK as of November 2012.4 Jones' version also reached #11 pop, #12 easy listening on the Billboard US charts.5
In February 2009 Tom 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.6
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. Tom Jones sung the song on the 2009/10 edition of Jool's Annual Hootenanny on 1 January 2010.
|Irish Singles Chart||1|
|UK Singles Chart||1|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||1|
|Australian Kent Music Report||1|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||2|
|Austrian Top 40||2|
|German Singles Chart||6|
|Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Singles||10|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||11|
|Canadian RPM Top 100||47|
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: 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.7
- 1967: Dalida, under the name of (les grilles de ma maison), disc (Super 45 t : 71167)
- 1968: Johnny Cash on the album Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 2006: Katherine Jenkins on the album Serenade
- 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.
- Tom Jones' "Green, Green Grass of Home" Chart Positions Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- Un invité (2009-02-09). "Tom Jones - La Blogothèque". Blogotheque.net. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- Svensktoppen - 1967
- "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".
- Full 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
The Beatles "Hello, Goodbye"
by The Beach Boys
|UK number one single
by Tom Jones
3 December 1966 (for 7 weeks)
"I'm a Believer" by The Monkees