♫ Green Tambourine ♫

I told you a few days ago that David had sent me a list of songs to consider for my music posts.  (Rawgod also sent me a list, and I’ll be playing a few from his list in the next few days)  This one from David’s list, Green Tambourine, is one of those songs that has been forgotten by most, but once you hear it, or even hear the title, you’re hooked and it will be stuck in your mind until you can exorcise it in some way.  My favourite method of song exorcism is to play it here on my blog, thus transferring those earworms from my head to yours!  Lest you think I don’t like this song … I do!  I just don’t need to keep waking en el medio de la noche hearing “listen while I play play play play …”

I really like the origins of the lyrics to this song.  According to SongFacts, lyricist Rochelle ‘Shelley’ Pinz wrote the words to this song after reading a newspaper article about an elder UK street musician who used a tambourine to collect money as he performed in front of a bank.  The music to this song was written by Paul Leka, whose other claim to fame is the song Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.

The song’s instrumentation contains the titular tambourine as well as an electric sitar.  Another hook is the heavy, psychedelic tape echo applied to the word “play” in each chorus and at the end, fading into a drumroll (“Listen while I play play play play play play play my green tambourine”).

While the Lemon Pipers played on the record, producer and joint author-composer Leka hired a string section to accompany the band, to add extra depth to the already psychedelic arrangement. The string section consisted of Elliot Rosoff, David Sackson, Irving Spice, Louise Stone, Louis Gaborwitz, and Deborah Idol on violins; Seymour Berman on viola; and Seymour Barab and Sally Rosoff on cellos.

I did a bit of digging into the band itself, for I couldn’t recall another song by them.  Imagine my surprise when I learned they were from Oxford, Ohio, just a few miles up the road from where I live.  Green Tambourine hit #1 in the U.S. and Canada, #7 in the UK, and I was right, it was their only chart-topping record.  They had a couple of others that made it to the top 100 in the U.S. — Rice is Nice – #46, and Jelly Jungle of Orange Marmalade – #51.  The Lemon Pipers dissolved in 1969.

Green Tambourine
The Lemon Pipers

Drop your silver in my tambourine
Help a poor man fill his pretty dream
Give me pennies, I’ll take anything
Now listen while I play
My green tambourine

Watch the jingle jangle start to chime
Reflections of the music that is mine
When you toss a coin you’ll hear it sing
Now listen while I play
My green tambourine

Drop a dime before I walk away
Any song you want I’ll gladly play
Money feeds my music machine
Now listen while I play
My green tambourine

Listen while I play

Writer/s: PAUL LEKA, SHELLY PINZ
Publisher: BMG Rights Management
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

26 thoughts on “♫ Green Tambourine ♫

  1. For me, Bubblegum Music was Sugar Sugar by the Archies or Yummy Yummy Yummy by 1910 Fruitgum Company, or maybe Gimme Gimme Good Loving by Crazy Elephant but I always thought Green Tambourine had artistic merit. Whatever, it’s one I still enjoy hearing today, unlike the others I mentioned.
    Cwtch

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  2. Song exorcism? 😉 What a term. Lol Thank you for explaining, because these times where the Pope is under fire on not hiring women as priests, one can think you are such a promotor too. 😉 Indeed, the song is great! Thank you, Jill! Enjoy your evening! Michael

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    • Oh no no no!!! 🤣 I stay completely out of religion! I only used the word ‘exorcise’ as removing something, such as the song from the inside of my head! I’m glad you liked this song! Have a happy day!

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      • Thank you for the explaination, Jill! I apologize. But its a good term. -) Great song, indeed. I hope you have enjoy the day too. I am just in installing a new internet router. I had thought this would be easy, but they have changed to whole configuation. At least there is a trash bin very near. Lol Have a nice evening, and a beautiful weekend! Michael

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        • I need to apologize … I found it funny! Oh, I do not envy you installing a new router! Everything related to technology has been made far more complex than it used to be. Back in the 1990s I could take apart and rebuild a computer, but now, I won’t even open one! It’s intentional … they want us to just buy a new one every time something goes wrong. Same is true with cars! I used to do most of my own maintenance, and even rebuilt a carburetor once, but now I open the hood and have no idea what I’m looking at! Good luck on the router! You have a great weekend also, Michael!

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          • Its always fun taking a screwdriver and desassemble things in the hope to re-assemble in the future. Lol In the age of 11 i had done this with most of the radios in our house. So we every year had new technology here. Lol Have a beautiful weekend as well, Jill! Enjoy the sun, you hopefully also will get. Michael

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            • Yes, and even more fun when the re-assembled one actually works! I remember one time when my late ex-husband rebuilt the engine in our car. He had many parts left over that he couldn’t figure out where they went. The car never did run again! 🤣 I can laugh about it now, but at the time, I wasn’t laughing! I did enjoy the sun, but … it began melting the snow, which re-froze into ice when the temperature dropped again, and my sidewalk was a solid sheet of ice!

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  3. Nothing druggish, Jill, but you have made me trip out again. A line in this song, “Any song you want I’ll gladly play”, took me to another song from the 60s, the Small Faces (pre Rod Stewart) doing Tin Soldier (not to be confused with One Tin Soldier by the Original Caste) which had the line “I’ll sing any song that you want me to” which then led me to their biggest hit, Itchycoo Park. That was a real upbeat song too, just like Green Tambourine, but for us hippies, not for our younger siblings, lol. https://youtu.be/fayL1WTR1Go which maybe John will appreciate more.
    For anyone who wants Tin Soldier, it’s at https://youtu.be/6vWTtx_PxPo

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  4. I can see why the band didn’t like being forced to play in this style, as it is the ultimate in disposable music. Bubblegum music was, thankfully, a passing phase that was mercifully short!

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    • Funny, but back in the day, I don’t recall ever hearing about ‘bubblegum’ music, but when I was researching this song last night was the first time I had heard the term! I thought you might not like this one, and it doesn’t have ‘staying power’ necessarily, but I rather like it just for being a fun song.

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      • That’s what we knew it as, even back then. Most of the songs were a little bit of passing fun but with no artistic merit to speak of – like a lot of pop music! The only one I liked was Simon Says, by the 1910 Fruitgum Company – surprising they chose fruit rather than bubble for their name 😊

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  5. I always like this song. Jill. Back in the day, there were murmurs that Green Tamborine referred to marijuana or other drug use. People made a big thing out of “drop a dime.” Back then a $10.00 supply of weed was called a dime bag.”

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