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Bein' Green: Misc

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Muppet

Up to date as of February 02, 2010

From Muppet Wiki

Written by  Joe Raposo
Music by 
Lyrics by 
Date  1970
Source 
Publisher  Jonico Music, Inc. and Green Fox Music Inc.
Kermit's first performance of "Bein' Green" on the first season of Sesame Street.
First Appearance:
Episode 0087
Kermit and Ray Charles sing "Bein' Green" on Cher in 1975.
For other uses, see Bein' Green (disambiguation)

"Bein' Green," originally titled "Green," is one of Kermit the Frog's best-known songs. It was written in 1970 by Joe Raposo for the first season of Sesame Street, and has since become an American standard.

In the song, Kermit expresses his ambivalence about his color, noting that green "blends in with so many other ordinary things" and wishing that he were some other color instead. During the bridge, Kermit realizes that there are some powerful associations with the color -- "green can be big, like a mountain, or important, like a river, or tall like a tree." In the end, he decides that he's happy to be green -- "it's beautiful, and I think it's what I want to be."

The song was described in a Children's Television Workshop press release as "a frog's poignant realization of his own dignity and worth." [1] The song has been viewed as a powerful message about race: music journalist Danyel Smith recalls in The Greatest TV Moments: Sesame Street Music A-Z that her mother said to imagine that instead of saying "green," they said "black."

Kermit would return to the song twice more on Sesame Street, including as a duet with Lena Horne, then performances on The Muppet Show in episodes 112 and 219, where the song was used to lift Kermit up from a depressed state.

The song appeared on The Sesame Street Book & Record and has been recorded numerous times since, both by Jim Henson and Steve Whitmire as Kermit, as well as by musicians like Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra, demonstrating the song's universal themes. "Bein' Green" is not just for frogs.

"It's not easy being green," a paraphrased lyric from the song, has become one of Kermit's catchphrases. In a twist on the line, when Kermit filmed a commercial for the Ford Escape Hybrid he remarked upon seeing the environmentally friendly vehicle, "I guess sometimes it is easy being green." Media outlets have also used this phrase to associate with the environmental movement.[2]

Street Gang gives insight into the songwriting process:

Raposo's best-regarded song has an air of intrigue about it. This much we know: it began when Jon Stone approached Raposo with a request. "We need a song for the frog", he said. As he had many times, with many songwriters and many songs, Stone walked Raposo through the curriculum goal for the composition and made lyric suggestions. Only Raposo and Stone were in the room when contemplative song for Kermit was mapped out, but members of Stone's family and others close to him have insisted that it was presumptuous of Raposo to claim that he alone wrote "Bein' Green". The sheet music has always indicated "Words and Music by Joe Raposo", and thus the enormous royalties generated by the song have always belonged to him. Jon Stone's failure to call Raposo on claiming full credit kindled one of the worst marital disagreements Jon and Beverly Stone ever had.[3]

Contents

Performed by the Muppets

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Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson)

Kermit's performance of the song on The Muppet Show episode 219.
  • Episode 112: Peter Ustinov (1976)
  • Episode 219: Peter Sellers (1977)

Re-releases

The following featured rereleases of Jim Henson's recordings of "Bein' Green.":*Sing the Hit Songs of Sesame Street (1974):*Bein' Green/I Am Blue (single, 1976)

Kermit the Frog (Steve Whitmire)

Dr. Teeth (Jim Henson)

Rowlf the Dog (Jim Henson)

Big Bird (Caroll Spinney)

Oscar the Grouch (Caroll Spinney)

Oscar's version.

Elmo (Kevin Clash)

  • Being Greeen, Elmo sings a verse before getting interrupted. (2009)

Performed in Muppet/Henson Productions

The following singers have performed "Bein' Green" in Muppet/Henson productions or related appearances as solos. (For duets with Kermit see above).

Tony Bennett

Ray Charles

  • Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting, with the monsters (1989)
released on Sing: Songs of Joe Raposo (1992)
  • See below for other covers by Ray Charles.

José Feliciano

Whoopi Goldberg

Bob McGrath

Don Rickles

Other Covers

Mike Campbell

  • Easy Chair Jazz album, spoken word (1994)

Ray Charles

  • Renaissance album (1975)
  • See above for covers by Ray Charles used in Muppet/Henson productions.

Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix

Andy Hallett (as Lorne on Angel)

  • Angel episode, "The House Always Wins" (2002)
  • Angel: Live Fast, Die Never - Music from the TV Series album (2005, unedited studio recording from 2002 episode)

Shirley Horn

  • Light Out of Darkness (A Tribute To Ray Charles) album (1993)

Rick Lyon (as Nicky from Avenue Q)

Van Morrison

  • Hard Nose the Highway album, studio version (1973)
  • Bootleg album with The Caledonia Soul Orchestra, live version (1973)

Thurl Ravenscroft

Frank Sinatra

  • Sinatra & Company album (1970)
rereleased on Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits Volume 2 album (1972)

Instrumentals

The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years

  • Plays at the beginning of the special, following a commercial break (1986)

The Muppets at Walt Disney World

Disney-MGM Studios

reused at Disney's California Adventure theme park.

Boston Pops Orchestra

  • Wish Upon a Star: All-Time Children's Favorites (1996)

Johnny Lytle

  • Easy Easy album (1997)

Till Brönner

  • That Summer album (2005)

Elmo's World

  • A very brief appearance of the tune is quoted in the underscore for Kermit's appearance in Elmo's World: Frogs

Publications

  • Being Green was an illustrated book which used the song's lyrics, but featured a lizard-like green creature instead of Kermit,
  • The Muppet Show Book features lyrics to this song, along with illustrations based on the version from episode 219.

Video releases

Sesame Street

  • Original Version:
  • Sesame Street: 25 Wonderful Years
  • Old School: Volume 1
  • Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days
  • 1976 version:

The Muppet Show

  • Episode 112 version:
  • Episode 219 version:

Online releases

Sesame Street

  • Sesamestreet.org
    • Original
    • Remake
    • Lena Horne's version
    • Oscar's version
  • Hulu
    • Original
    • Lena Horne version

References

The catchphrase "It's not easy being green" has been referenced many times, both by the Muppets and by others.

Sources

  1. "Beetles and Beethoven, Move on Over: The Seventies Sounds is Sesame Street." CTW Press Release. January 10, 1971
  2. Sidney Herald "Going green: Ethanol may be part of country’s path for energy independence" by Linsey Bright, 8/12/08
  3. Street Gang page 256
  4. The Greatest TV Moments: Sesame Street Music A-Z

This article uses material from the "Bein' Green" article on the Muppet wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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