Green Tambourine - The Lemon Pippers

Rola: Green Tambourine
Traducción: Pandero verde
Intérprete: The Lemon Pippers
Compositor: Paul Leka, Shelly Pinz
Disco: Green Tambourine
Productor: Paul A. Rothchild


"Green Tambourine" was the primary hit by the 1960s Ohio-based rock group The Lemon Pipers, as well as the title track to their debut-album Green Tambourine. The song has been credited as being the first bubblegum pop chart-topper. Released towards the end of 1967, it peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for one week at the start of February, 1968 and earned the group a gold record for over a million copies sold. The record remained on the chart for three months. It was also the first U.S. number-one hit for the Buddah label. The Lemon Pipers would never repeat this success, although "Rice Is Nice" and "Jelly Jungle" did make it onto the charts in 1968.

The song is the story of a street musician pleading for someone to give him money. In exchange, he would play his green tambourine. The song's instrumentation contains the title tambourine as well as an electric sitar, a frequent signature of the so-called "psychedelic sound". 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/my green tambourine"). The echo is noticeably different in the mono and stereo mixes. The mono version also starts fading out slightly earlier than in the stereo version.

The single's B-side, "No Help From Me", featured lead vocals by guitarist Bill Bartlett and did not appear on either of the group's two albums.


Duración: 02:27
Año: 1968
Formato: 7"
A la venta: 01/12/1967
Lado B: No Help From Me
Disquera: Buddha Records


Bill Albaugh – drums
Bill Bartlett – lead guitar
Ivan Browne – rhythm guitar, lead vocals
R. G. Nave – organ, tambourine, fog horn, toys
Steve Walmsley – bass guitar


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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 drop 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


1. "Rice Is Nice"
2. "Shoeshine Boy"
3. "Turn Around Take a Look"
4. "Rainbow Tree"
5. "Ask Me If I Care"
6. "Straggling Behind"
7. "Green Tambourine"

1. "Blueberry Blue"
2. "Shoemaker of Leatherwear Square"
3. "Fifty Year Void"
4. "Through With You"

Green Tambourine is the first album by the American band The Lemon Pipers. It was released in 1967 (see 1967 in music) after the band's bubblegum single of the same name had topped the charts in the US.

The album revealed the wide division between the musical tastes of the band and the commercial demands of the label, which hoped to replicate the success of the "Green Tambourine" hit single. It contained extended blues-inspired psychedelic tracks "Fifty Year Void" and "Through With You" (the latter, running to more than nine minutes, written by guitarist Bill Bartlett and bearing influences of The Byrds) as well as five bubblegum tracks written by New York songwriting team Paul Leka and Shelley Pinz.

Liner notes on the album, written by Buddah Records label boss Neil Bogart, described the band as "five very intelligent young men with a solid sound and a real interest in all kinds of music. They perform folk ballads, soul, psychedelic, blues, country and western and write much of their own material."


The Lemon Pippers: Ohio

The Lemon Pipers were a 1960s psychedelic pop band from Oxford, Ohio,[1] known chiefly for their song "Green Tambourine", which reached No. 1 in the United States in 1968. The song has been credited as being the first bubblegum pop chart-topper.[1] Credited or not, the song appealed to the hippy movement of the time, to which bubblegum music was anathema. The Lemon Pipers comprised singer Dale "Ivan" Browne (born 1947), guitarist William Bartlett (born 1946, South Harrow, Middlesex, England), keyboardist Robert G. "Reg" Nave (born 1945), drummer William E. Albaugh (1948–1999), guitarist Ron Simkins (born 1948) and bassist Steve Walmsley (born 1949, New Zealand) who replaced the original bass guitarist Ron "Dude" Dudek.

The band was formed in 1966 by student musicians from Oxford, Ohio, who had played the college bars with their previous groups that included The Wombats (Nave), Ivan and the Sabres (Browne) and Tony and the Bandits (Bartlett and Dudek). The band played a mixture of blues, hard rock and folk rock, covering a few Byrds and The Who tracks. They gigged regularly in an Oxford bar called The Boar's Head, and Cincinnati underground rock venues, The Mug Club and later The Ludlow Garage, and released a single on the Carol Records label, "Quiet Please". The original band existed as a quartet, and then gained notoriety by reaching the finals in the Ohio Battle of the Bands at the Cleveland Public Auditorium in 1967, losing out to the James Gang.

The band then recruited Browne, a Miami University student as frontman, and engaged the Ohio music industry impresario, Mark Barger, who steered the Lemon Pipers to Buddah Records, then run by Neil Bogart. The Lemon Pipers, relying in part on advice from Barger, agreed to enter into a recording contract and music publishing deal with Buddah. The group began playing larger auditorium and concert hall venues around the US, including an appearance at Fillmore West in San Francisco, California. Buddah's plans for the group centred around bubblegum pop rather than rock, and the Lemon Pipers joined a stable already containing Ohio Express, and the 1910 Fruitgum Company. Paul Leka was assigned to be their record producer.

Buddah did not know how to handle the band at first and the group's debut on Buddah was a Bartlett composition, "Turn Around and Take a Look". When the song failed to make the charts, the label asked Leka and his songwriting partner, Shelley Pinz, who were working out of a Brill Building office on Broadway, to come up with a song. The pair wrote "Green Tambourine" and the band reluctantly recorded it. The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at the end of 1967 and reached No. 1 in February 1968. The song peaked at No. 7 in the UK Singles Chart, and was also a hit worldwide. It sold over two million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.) in February 1968.

The success of "Green Tambourine" caused the label to put pressure on the group to stay in the bubblegum genre, and in March 1968 the band released another Leka/Pinz song, "Rice Is Nice", which peaked at No. 46 in the US and No. 41 in the UK in May. The band had little enthusiasm for either song, however, dubbing them "funny-money music" and recording them only because they knew they would be dropped by Buddah if they refused. "Ordinary Point of View", written by Eric Ehrmann and featuring a Bartlett country solo, was recorded, but rejected by Buddah. Disenchanted with Buddah and the music industry, Ehrmann stopped writing songs and went on to become one of the early contributors to Rolling Stone magazine. As is common with the music associated with the 1960s, a few copyright and royalties issues connected with the current owners of the Kama Sutra music publishing catalog and Lemon Pipers songs remain unresolved.

The Lemon Pipers evolution from 1960s rock music into a gold record bubblegum band created what Nave has described as "the duality of the Lemon Pipers": "We were a stand-up rock 'n' roll band, and then all of a sudden, we're in a studio, being told how to play and what to play."

The chasm between the label’s aspirations and the band’s own musical tastes became apparent on the Lemon Pipers’ debut album, Green Tambourine. Produced by Leka, the album contained five Leka/Pinz songs, as well as two extended tracks written by the band, "Fifty Year Void" and "Through With You" (the latter, written by Bartlett, bearing influences of The Byrds and, according to the original LP label, running 8:31 in length). "Ask Me If I Care" written by Ehrmann, was also featured. Like the Lemon Pipers members, Nave and Albaugh, Ehrmann was a member of the Kappa chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Writing in Bubblegum is the Naked Truth, Gary Pig Gold commented: "It was the Pipers’ way with a tough-pop gem in the under-four-minute category which was most impressive by far: "Rainbow Tree", "Shoeshine Boy" and especially "Blueberry Blue" each sported a taut, musical sophistication worthy of The Move and, dare I say it, even the Magical Mystery Beatles."

The band recorded a second album for Buddah, Jungle Marmalade, which again showed both sides of the band – another Leka/Pinz bubblegum song, "Jelly Jungle", (released as a single and peaking at No. 51 in the US), a version of the Carole King/Gerry Goffin penned song "I Was Not Born to Follow," and an 11 minute, 43 second epic, "Dead End Street"/"Half Light".


Sun King; Mrs. Miller; Status Quo; Lawrence Welk; Tripping Daisy

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