Green Tambourine

Album: Green Tambourine (1967)
Charted: 7 1

Songfacts®:

  • Lyricist Shelley Pinz wrote the words to this song after reading a newspaper article about an elder UK street musician who used a tambourine to collect money as he performed in front of a bank.
  • The music to this song was written by Paul Leka, whose other claim to fame is the song "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," which he wrote and recorded with two other guys and was credited to "Steam," which was a group they made up to release the song.
  • This was also recorded by The Peppermint Rainbow, whose lineup included Shelley Pinz, from The Lemon Pipers. The Peppermint Rainbow had a couple of hits, as well: "Don't Wake Me Up in the Morning, Michael," and "Will You Be Staying After Sunday." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeff - Scottsdale, AZ

Comments: 27

  • Bryan Harrison from Mountain House, CaNear the end of Green Tambourine, there is a distinctive female harmony on the line “money feeds my music machine”. I could swear it’s Cass Elliott but can’t find any credit for it anywhere. Anyone know?
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaEllen do you know why she picked Green for the color? I too have never seen one that color.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyFifty years ago today on January 28th, 1968 "Green Tambourine" by The Lemon Pipers became the #1 record on Billboard's Top 100 chart {It was it's first and only week in the top spot}...
    The remaining Top 10 records were:
    #2. Judy In Disguise (With Glasses) by John Fred & His Playboy Band {last week's #1 record}...
    #3. Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin
    #4. Spooky by The Classics IV
    #5. Bend Me, Shape Me by The American Breed
    #6. Woman, Woman by The Union Gap Featuring Gary Puckett
    #7. Love Is Blue by Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra
    #8. Nobody But Me by The Human Beinz
    #9. Goin' Out of My Head/Can't Take My Eyes Off You (Medley) by The Lettermen
    #10. I Wish It Would Rain by The Temptations
    And on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart, the Beatles' 'Magical Mystery Tour' was in it's fifth of eight weeks at the #1 position.
  • Uncle T. Jay from Grand Junction, CoThe music track was borrowed by 2 other artists who also sang Green Tambourine: One was The Peppermint Rainbow (of Will You Be Staying After Sunday fame) and the novelty (!?!?) artist Mrs. Miller, but it was the Lemon Pipers who took the track and the lyrics to #1.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 6th 1968, the Lemon Pipers performed "Rice Is Nice" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #49 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; eight days later on April 14th it would peaked at #46 and that would also be its 7th and last week on the Top 100...
    And on the same 'Bandstand' show they also performed their debut Top 100 record, "Green Tambourine" {See next post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 10th 1967, "Green Tambourine" by the Lemon Pipers entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #68; and seven weeks later on January 28th, 1968 it peaked at #1* {for 1 week} and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #2 on the Australian Kent Music Report chart...
    The Ohio quintet had two other records make the Top 100 chart; "Rice Is Nice" {#46 in 1968} and "Jelly Jungle (of Orange Marmalade)" {#51 in 1968}...
    * The record it bumped out of the top spot was "Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)" by John Fred and His Playboy Band, which had been #1 for 2 weeks, and the record that replaced it at #1 was "Love Is Blue" by Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra.
  • Raunchy from Tulsa, Ok"Green Tambourine" is one of my favorite songs. Back in '67 my family moved from Oklahoma to Missouri and when we moved into our new home, I recall this song playing on the radio when we turned it on. Me & my brothers & sisters danced to it. To this day, I have never ever seen a green tambourine. I've seen several red ones in various rock bands over the years----but no green ones.
  • Mark from Rogers, , ArThe beat on this song is awesome. A well deserved #1 (2-3-1968)
  • Karen from Manchester, NhFor some reason, when I was a very small child, this song would give me the screaming horrors. I could NOT listen to it! My brother would threaten to play it to tease me. When my sister gave me all of her 45s when I turned 11, the first thing I did was destroy that record (the 1st of only 2 times I had ever done something like that). To this day I can't bring myself to listen to it - those first notes play and I switch it off - but I still don't understand why.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesNot bubblegum so much as sunshine psychedelia, a slightly different genre. Look for bands like Cherry Orchard, Elephant Candy, Orange Bicycle, Peppermint Trolley, Yellow Balloon and Sunshine Company if you like this. Collector-reviewer Ron Linthout used to say, "You know the kind I mean when I'm talking about bands who used a lot of keywords like: love, happy, tambourine, sunshine, rainbow, groovy, summertime, flowers, cotton candy, marshmallows,... titles such as Mr. Flynn's toy shop, the technicolor milkshake (just made these up)." Wish someone would write those songs.
  • Alan from Toronto, OnI just purchased The Lemon Pipers - Green Tambourine album while I was in Buffalo, it was used but in mint condition and I thought to pick it up to replace my old copy, however when I got home I discovered that the serial numbers and label were different. It is on the Kama Sutra label (SBDL 55-004), It also has Buddah Records Original Recording logo in the top right corner and Kama Sutra Distribuzione Dischi Ricordi S.p.A. in the center top which means it's a Italian pressing, I haven't been able to find any trace of this pressing on the internet, what a rare find. If anyone can find anything about this pressing I would be very interested
  • Billy from West Unity, OhAlthough this song could be deemed over the top by some. It's definitely captures the era in which it was written. It saddens me to hear that it's been regulated to the "bubblegum" sort of thing hat was going on in the late 60's. I have always enjoyed the song immensely....Still do!!
  • Julia from Richland, WaThis song hit the shelves on my birthday. LOVE Green Tambourine!!! My most favorite song EVER!!!
  • John from Marlborough, MaThis song was featured in Recess Schools out.
  • John from Vancouver, Bci got a spider on a red piece of paper it's gold and i burned a green candle once these were magickal spells that were taught to me by other people speaking of green eh? but anyways last night i was partying alone in my room listening to the song and it was like i heard it for the very first time. i picked a tambourine up once and to my amazement i could play it you know like regular people everybody in the room seemed to vibrate to the beat and i especially liked the song along with the instrumental parts they played on it. listen while i play my green tambourine!
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnThis was one of the top bubblegum songs of all time. The Lemon Pipers recorded a couple of follow up singles titled Jelly Jungle (Of Orange Marmalade) and Rice is Nice.
  • Musicmama from New York, NyOk, here's another one of my guilty pleasures (along with the Monkees' "I'm A Believer." Yes, it's bubblegum psychedelia, but actually quite good at what it is--certainly better than, say, anything that Tommy James and the Shondells did. I think it's because this song is pop with psychedelic touches rather than pretenses. And I really like the line, "Money Feeds My Music Machine": The man with the tambourine is compared to a jukebox. Pretty good use of metaphor, if you ask me.
  • Ellen from New York, AzShelly Pinz the writer of Green Tambourine was my cousin. She passed away a few years ago. She was very talented and very sensitive and a great friend to many.
  • Rob from Detroit, MiHey Lynn; was the Dale Brown you dated really Ivan Browne from Ivan and the Sabers? There was no "Dale Brown" in the Lemon Pipers.
  • Mark from Byrdstown, TnIve always loved this little song for some reason.I guess its just a perfect example of bubble gum rock or soft psycedelic music maybe but whatever it is The Lemon Pipers captured some magic, at least in this song.
  • Lynn from Centerville, OhI dated Dale Brown and always wondered what became of him after the release? This has always been one of my favorite songs. Hey Dale, where are you!!
  • Andrew from Birmingham, United StatesI love this song! Thank goodness for the Lemon Pipers! Too bad not many radio stations in Alabama play "Green Tambourine" anymore. If I could get hold of a CD with "Green Tambourine" on it, that would be some satisfaction.
  • N from Staten Island, NyOriginal 45rpm info:

    Label: Buddah, Catalog# BDA-23, Runtime 2:22
  • James from Toronto, CanadaBest band ever. Too bad they only made about 7 songs :|
  • Dave from Portsmouth, NhRam Jam (of "Black Betty" fame also did a cover a few years back. The liner notes say that a couple of Ram Jams' members were once Lemon Pipers. Also, the version done by The Peppermint Rainbow sounds almost like a clone of the Lemon Pipers version, because it was produced by the same person, who used the same music tracks for both recordings.
  • Wes from Springfield, VaThe guitar chords always make me think of the Who's Pinball Wizard, which was recorded after this was.
  • Charles from Charlotte, NcAn eclectic street musician was playing this (and other) sixties tunes for cash when I visited San Francisco a few years ago.
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