For my early childhood music was music. You turned on the radio or threw disc on the old radiogram and what came out was a one-dimensional noise that you could sing along to. Sometime around 1970 I heard a song titled Little Green Bag by the Dutch Band, The George Baker Selection and everything changed.
I recall vividly hearing this song and having an “aha” moment. As listened I recognised the multi-dimensional nature of almost all recordings. I heard the bass-line. Then the tambourine over top, a quick drum beat, a voice saying, “Yeah,” a few more vocals, a build up in the drums, a guitar playing an upbeat G-chord – put them all together and you got music!
Okay, so it makes me sound like a nut but, since that time, I have always attempted to dissect any song I’m listening to. I try to listen for the individual instruments, identify them and workout what they’re playing. And, this is the amazing thing about music – there is nothing new and yet, everything is new… There are only a certain number of keys on a piano, and only a certain number of frets on a guitar but, every song known to humankind can be found on there somewhere – magic.
you can’t win them all
The George Baker Selection had two hits, one is a classic (this one), the other is, in my opinion, terrible.
Can you recall their second hit? It was called Paloma Blanca. I don’t blame you if you forgot it. If you remember it, please forgive me, it probably means you liked it… but, let me repeat, it was ghastly!
I hadn’t heard Little Green Bag for such a long time then in 1992 I went to see the Quentin Tarantino movie Reservoir Dogs and there, in that wonderful opening scene, is Little Green Bag. The movie has a strong cult following and that scene is known as one of the great opening movie scenes.
Reservoir Dogs contained another wonderful 70s song – Stealer’s Wheels’ – Stuck in the Middle With You.
whatever happened to george?
George Baker continues to perform as a solo artist. His last album, Lonely Boy, was released in 2009.
little green bag fax
- Little Green Bag was released in 1969. It was written by two Dutch musicians, Jan Visser and Hans Bouwens. Hans went by the name George Baker, hence the band’s name.
- Little Green Bag reached #9 position in the Dutch Top 40 and #21 in the Billboard Top 100 in the U.S.
- In 1991 Little Green Bag reached #1 in Japan after it was used in a Japanese whiskey commercial.
- In 1999, Tom Jones covered Little Green Bag on his album Reload. He was joined by Canadian band, Barenaked Ladies.
- Little Green Bag has also appeared in The Simpsons and Red Dwarf, and been used in commercials for Toyota (in Australia) and Heineken beer.
- Finally, the song also features in the international trailer for the film Despicable Me.
- Little Green Bag lyrics.