Paloma Blanca

Album: Paloma Blanca (1975)
Charted: 10 26
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • The title of this song translates as "White Dove," although it is perhaps better known as "Una Paloma Blanca" ("One White Dove"). Written by the Dutch singer-songwriter Johannes Bouwens, it has been both widely recorded and a popular choice for budding musicians. In 1977, an arrangement by Michael Burnett for School Ensemble was published by Chappell of London, copyright 1975, 1977 by Witch/Veronica Music, Holland and Noon Music Ltd of London.
  • "Paloma Blanca" was the title track of the fifth album by The George Baker Selection. [Bouwens recorded as George Baker both with his band and later as a solo artist]. Running to just under three and a half minutes, and backed by "Dreamboat," the single was a big hit in many countries.

    The definitive recording though is that made by Jonathan King as "Una Paloma Blanca." King's version picked up an Ivor Novello Award for Record Of The Year. Unusually, the two versions were released almost simultaneously in the UK and raced up the charts together. In a 1997 interview with The Songwriter magazine, music publisher Terry Noon explained how he heard about the song on a trip to Holland and thought it was a #1 hit. All his connections thought he was mad, he said, but he persisted, and badgered Jonathan King into recording it. At first, King said he would record it only as an album track, but soon relented.

    The October 4, 1975 issue of Music Week listed "Una Paloma Blanca" at #10 and "Paloma Blanca" at #11, by which time they had been in the charts for five weeks. The following week, "Una Paloma Blanca" peaked at #5, and "Paloma Blanca" at #10.
  • It has been suggested the song was inspired by the Portuguese "Carnation Revolution" of 1974 - i.e. the liberation of the dove. Clearly it is a song about freedom, but songs about birds frequently have this theme. The John/Taupin composition "Skyline Pigeon" is strikingly similar, and may have inspired it. This track was re-released as the B Side of "Daniel" in 1973, and it it is not unlikely Bouwens - consciously or otherwise - borrowed its "Let me wake up in the morning to the smell of new mown hay" for his lyric "I can smell the new mown hay."
  • With its distinctive flute solo, "Paloma Blanca" has a melody that lends itself readily to parody, and was soon hijacked by The Wurzels for "I Am A Cider Drinker" which reached #3 in the UK singles chart. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above

Comments: 7

  • Jo from ColoradoMy moms favorite song
  • Magic Cowboy from Da Dakotas Freedom-let no one take it away
  • Steve from Whittier, CaSlim Whitman also covered it.
  • Steve from Whittier, CaThe verses's tune sounds like the theme for the "Flintstones" original 1960-1966 eraseries [used from 1962-1966;meody by Hoyt Curtin, 1922-2000].
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaThis is one of the most endearing songs of the mid-1970's. Helping are the excellent vocals of Nelleke Brzoskowsky, who joined the group shortly before this single was released.
  • Reed from New Ulm, MnGreat song to play at Weddings.
  • Stormy from Kokomo, InThis group also had another great song in the late 60s early 70s called "Little Green Bag".
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Taylor Dayne

Taylor DayneSongwriter Interviews

Taylor talks about "The Machine" - the hits, the videos and Clive Davis.

Commercials

CommercialsFact or Fiction

Was "Ring Of Fire" really used to sell hemorrhoid cream?

Concert Disasters

Concert DisastersFact or Fiction

Ozzy biting a dove? Alice Cooper causing mayhem with a chicken? Creed so bad they were sued? See if you can spot the real concert mishaps.

JJ Burnel of The Stranglers

JJ Burnel of The StranglersSongwriter Interviews

JJ talks about The Stranglers' signature sound - keyboard and bass - which isn't your typical strain of punk rock.

Keith Reid of Procol Harum

Keith Reid of Procol HarumSongwriter Interviews

As Procol Harum's lyricist, Keith wrote the words to "A Whiter Shade Of Pale." We delve into that song and find out how you can form a band when you don't sing or play an instrument.

A Monster Ate My Red Two: Sesame Street's Greatest Song Spoofs

A Monster Ate My Red Two: Sesame Street's Greatest Song SpoofsSong Writing

When singers started spoofing their own songs on Sesame Street, the results were both educational and hilarious - here are the best of them.