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Feb 06

TOM JONES – “Green Green Grass Of Home”

Popular37 comments • 3,557 views

#227, 3rd December 1966

The worst thing about “Green Green Grass of Home” is how close it comes to being OK: for two verses the band is tight and Tom is as close as Tom gets to ‘restrained’, and the record is shaping up nicely. Carry on for another verse in that vein and we’d be listening to a big, corny pop-soul heartwarmer: sentimental for sure, but strong.

But no, there has to be a twist. And it’s not so much that there is a twist – plenty of songs have them – it’s the manner of its delivery. “And I realise -yes -“, says Tom Jones, “I WAS ONLY DREAMING”. It’s rare to feel patronised by a pop song, but this pulls it off. Spoken word sections usually work as a spash of naturalism in the middle of a pop performance – a trick to reduce the performer/audience distance and jack up the intimacy. But naturalism and Tom Jones don’t really share a universe, and given the assumed need to hammer home the ending for the slow of hearing the effect is something like Brian Blessed teaching a remedial class.

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Comments

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  1. 26
    crag on 14 Apr 2011 #

    DESERT ISLAND DISCS WATCH:

    Mary Peters, athlete(1973)

    Duncan Bannatyne,businessman(2010).

  2. 27
    Lena on 26 Sep 2011 #

    Less melodramatic: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.com/2011/09/two-are-better-than-one-val-doonican.html Thanks for reading, everyone!

  3. 29
    Lena on 3 Oct 2011 #

    ’67…begins: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.com/2011/10/back-to-future-donovan-sunshine.html Thanks for reading everyone!

  4. 30
    Paulito on 13 Nov 2011 #

    One of Elvis Presley’s later recordings is this version of GGGOH and it’s nicely done – bittersweet and mournful. Crucially, he (mainly) sings the last verse instead of reciting it, thus avoiding the hamminess and bathos that Tom’s effort descends into.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksVpFUtgbvA

  5. 31
    Billy Smart on 5 Dec 2011 #

    TOTPWatch: Tom Jones performed The Green Green Grass Of Home on Top Of The Pops on four occasions;

    17 November 1966. Also in the studio that week were; The Shadows, The Yardbirds and Val Doonican. Jimmy Savile was the host.

    8 December 1966. Also in the studio that week were; Jimmy Ruffin, The Barron Knights, The Easybeats, The Kinks and The Young Rascals. Pete Murray was the host.

    5 January 1967. Also in the studio that week were; Paul Jones, Sandie Shaw, The Four Tops and The Kinks. Pete Murray was the host.

    25 December 1967. Also in the studio that Christmas were; Petula Clark, Sandie Shaw, The Foundations, Jimi Hendrix, The Tremeloes and The Who. Jimmy Savile, Alan Freeman and Pete Murray were the hosts.

    None of these editions survive.

  6. 32
    lonepilgrim on 24 Apr 2013 #

    Meanwhile, at the top of the US charts was a sonic cathedral of sound, as noted here.

  7. 33
    lonepilgrim on 22 Jul 2013 #

    …followed at the top of the US singles chart by another cathedral of sound, as noted here

  8. 34
    lonepilgrim on 4 Nov 2013 #

    Can you believe it? Another US number hit the top on the last day of the year, as noted here

  9. 35
    lonepilgrim on 7 Sep 2015 #

    This is another song that I can recall hearing on the radio as a child, where the narrative seemed as plausible as the westerns that would be on TV on a Sunday afternoon. Tom sells the rose tinted vision of home but is wholly unconvincing when it comes to suggesting he is on Death Row. He just sounds too full of life to sell the tale convincingly. Enough people must have felt otherwise to make this the Christmas Number 1.

  10. 36
    enitharmon on 31 Oct 2016 #

    And it’s goodbye Curly Putman, writer of this song. It’s not a bad song at all, of its type, it’s just that Tom Jones was miscast as its singer. Johnny Cash suited it better.

  11. 37

    In his book 1966 — which I totally recommend — Jon Savage links it to the Aberfan disaster, suggesting its success in TJ’s version was a kind of UK-wide placemarker for the (understandably huge) emotional reaction to a very recent, very terrible event of only a few weeks before.

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