Today’s music video is Green Green Grass Of Home and the song is performed here by the Welsh singing legend Tom Jones.
This video was posted to You Tube by diverseclipuri
I have often said that some of these songs I play each Sunday will each bring back a memory of one thing or another. A song can take you back to a time and a place where you most remember that song, and such is the case with this song I have featured for today.
I have had cause in the last week or so to reminisce, something I don’ t often do. It was fifty years ago this last week when I joined the Royal Australian Air Force. (RAAF) I was fifteen years and nine months old, and thinking on that right now, I feel sure there would not be many parents who would be happy to see their child, son, or daughter for that fact, go off to join the Military at that tender young age.
I joined up what was then an Apprentice Scheme, where young boys, all of that same age, joined up the RAAF, and spent two and a half years learning a Trade, and at the end of that trade training, now as 18 year olds and fully qualified tradesman, they were ready to go out into the wider Air Force and work as tradesmen on a variety of military aircraft. There was no real sadness at leaving home to go so far away, because the thinking as a young teenager is more one of expectation as to the ‘adventure’ that is coming.
There were 70 of us, young teenagers now all thrown together in that new environment of learning all things of a military nature, and then learning a trade. This was also at a time when there was no Bluetooth technology, no mobile phones capable of playing music, no Discmans, no Walkmans, not even cassette tape recorders. All we had was the radio, and even then it was the most basic AM radio at that. True, we did have transistor radios then, but not many of us had them at all, so the only music were exposed to was on the radio. In our living quarters, the most basic you could imagine, even then, there were not that many radios, so usually, one person had a radio of some sort, and that was all you could hear in your room after the work day had finished.
Why I remember this song so much is that it was the Number One hit song on the National Charts during that week when I first joined the RAAF.
I heard it that first morning on the bus I took for the fifty miles from my home to the Recruiting Office in Brisbane. Then again I heard it in the car as they took the two of us to the airport after enlistment, for the thousand mile flight to where we were to undergo our training. We flew from Brisbane down to Melbourne. Then I heard it in the car that took us from the airport to the training base near Melbourne. Three times I heard that song during that one day.
So, every time I hear this song when it’s played on the radio, that’s where I am immediately transported to, that first day I joined the Air Force.
This is a sad song about a man who longs to be in a place where he has his family with him, and we find later in the song that it’s all just a dream.
The song itself was written in 1965 by ‘Curly’ Putnam, and was originally recorded by Porter Wagoner. Tom Jones was at the start of his huge career, and had been a big start now for just over a year. He was in the U.S. and wanted to hear some new music from one of his favourite singers Jerry Lee Lewis, who had just started out on his second huge career, this time as a Country Singer. Jerry Lee had just brought out a new album, Country Songs For City Folks, and this song was on that album.
Tom Jones heard the song, liked it, and then made his own cover version of the song, releasing it late in 1966. The song was a Monster Number One hit in his home, topping the UK charts for seven weeks, and from there, it also took off all across the Planet as well. In all, since it’s release, this Tom Jones Cover has sold almost 1.3 million copies of the song.
The song was Number One on the Australian National Charts for a couple of weeks in early January of 1967, and that is where I remember it most from. While I had probably heard the song already a number of times, I noticed it most on that one day in January of 1967, the day I joined the Royal Australian Air Force, and to this day, fifty years later, whenever I hear that song, that’s where I am taken back to.