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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Booker T. & The M.G.s - Green Onions

On this day 15 September 1962, "Green Onions" from Booker T. & the MG's was #1 on the American R&B chart.

"Green Onions" is a hit soul instrumental recorded in 1962 by Booker T. & the M.G.s. The tune is a 12-bar blues with a rippling Hammond organ line. Originally issued on the Volt 102 subsidiary of Stax Records in May 1962 as the B-side to "Behave Yourself", it was quickly reissued as the A-side of Stax 127; it also appeared on the album Green Onions. The guitar used by guitarist Steve Cropper on "Green Onions", as was all of The M.G.'s instrumentals, was a Fender Telecaster. According to guitarist Steve Cropper, the name is not a marijuana reference, rather it is named after the Green Badger's[clarification needed] cat, Green Onions, whose way of walking inspired the riff. Although, according to, the song was named by Booker T. Jones stating that when asked by Jim Stewart what he'd name the song, Booker T. Jones replied "Green Onions." "Why 'Green Onions'?" Jim asked. Booker T: "Because that is the nastiest thing I can think of and it's something you throw away." The song is in chromatic-minor with an open fifth as tonic chord.

"Green Onions" entered the Billboard Hot 100 the week ending August 11, 1962 and peaked at No. 3 the week ending September 29, 1962. The single also made it to No. 1 on the soul singles chart, for four non consecutive weeks: an unusual occurrence in that, on the soul singles chart, "Green Onions" fell in and out of top spot, three times. On the UK Singles Chart it first appeared December 15, 1979 at #74, it then hit its highest position on January 26, 1980 at #7, it then left the charts on March 1, 1980 at #51, and ended up staying on the charts for a total of 12 weeks.

"Green Onions" was ranked No. 183 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. The song is currently ranked as the 85th greatest song of all time, as well as the best song of 1962, by Acclaimed Music. British rhythm and blues singer Georgie Fame credited the single with being a main influence on his switch from piano to Hammond organ.

In 1999 "Green Onions" was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

In 2012 it was added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry list of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" American sound recordings. (Info Wiki)

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