|Written by||Joe Raposo|
|Publisher|| Jonico Music, Inc.|
Green Fox Music Inc.
"Bein' Green," originally titled "Green," is one of Kermit the Frog's best-known songs. It was written in 1970 by Joe Raposo for the first season of Sesame Street, and has since become an American standard.
In the song, Kermit expresses his ambivalence about his color, noting that green "blends in with so many other ordinary things" and wishing that he were some other color instead. During the bridge, Kermit realizes that there are some powerful associations with the color -- "green can be big, like a mountain, or important, like a river, or tall like a tree." In the end, he decides that he's happy to be green -- "it's beautiful, and I think it's what I want to be."
The song was described in a Children's Television Workshop press release as "a frog's poignant realization of his own dignity and worth." The song has been viewed as a powerful message about race: music journalist Danyel Smith recalls in The Greatest TV Moments: Sesame Street Music A-Z that her mother said to imagine that instead of saying "green," they said "black."
Kermit would return to the song twice more on Sesame Street, including as a duet with Lena Horne, then performances on The Muppet Show in episodes 112 and 219, where the song was used to lift Kermit up from a depressed state.
The song appeared on The Sesame Street Book & Record and has been recorded numerous times since, both by Jim Henson and Steve Whitmire as Kermit, as well as by musicians like Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra, demonstrating the song's universal themes. "Bein' Green" is not just for frogs.
"It's not easy being green," a paraphrased lyric from the song, has become one of Kermit's catchphrases. In a twist on the line, when Kermit filmed a commercial for the Ford Escape Hybrid he remarked upon seeing the environmentally friendly vehicle, "I guess sometimes it is easy being green." Media outlets have also used this phrase to associate with the environmental movement.
Street Gang gives insight into the songwriting process:
|“||Raposo's best-regarded song has an air of intrigue around it. This much we know: it began when Jon Stone approached Raposo with a request. "We need a song for the frog", he said. As he had many times, with many songwriters and many songs, Stone walked Raposo through the curriculum goal for the composition and made lyric suggestions. Only Stone and Raposo were in the room when the contemplative song for Kermit was mapped out, but members of Stone's family have insisted that it was presumptuous of Raposo to claim that he alone wrote "Bein' Green". The sheet music has always indicated "Words and Music by Joe Raposo", and thus the enormous royalties generated by the song have always belonged to him. Jon Stone's failure to call Raposo on claiming full credit kindled one of the worst marital disagreements Jon and Beverly Stone ever had.||”|
Performed by the Muppets
- The Sesame Street Book & Record (1970)
- Evening at Pops (1971)
- Julie on Sesame Street, with Julie Andrews (1973)
- The Tonight Show (1974)
- What's My Line (1974)
- Cher, with Ray Charles (1975)
- The Muppet Show
- The Muppet Show album (1977)
- Sesame Disco! (disco version) (1979)
- The Muppet Show On Tour (1984)
- Royal Variety Performance (1988)
- Center for Puppetry Arts (1988)
- Earth Day 1990 PSA (1990)
- Here Come the Muppets (1990) with Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, and Bean Bunny
- The following featured rereleases of Jim Henson's recordings of "Bein' Green."
- What Are Kids Called/Green (single, 1970)
- Sing the Hit Songs of Sesame Street (1974)
- 60 Favorite Songs from Sesame Street (1975)
- Sesame Street Gold (1977)
- Bein' Green/I Am Blue (single, 1976)
- 10th Anniversary Album (1978)
- Sesame Street Music Society Album (1978)
- Disco Frog/Bein' Green (single, 1979)
- The Wonderful World of Sesame Street (1980)
- Sesame Street Treasury (album) (1980)
- Favorite Songs From Jim Henson's Muppets (1986)
- Jim Henson: A Sesame Street Celebration (1990)
- Sesame Street Celebrates! (1994)
- Platinum All-Time Favorites (1995)
- Music, Mayhem and More! (2002)
- Songs from the Street: 35 Years of Music (2003)
- Best of the Muppets (2005)
- Old School: Volume 1 (CD) (2010)
- Apple Computer commercials for Sage iMac (2000)
Kermit the Frog (Steve Whitmire)
- The Rosie O'Donnell Show (September 6, 1996)
- The Muppet Show Live (2001)
- The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, with a boy with muscular dystrophy (2002)
- Ford Escape Hybrid commercial (2006)
- Hollywood Bowl "Fireworks Finale" (September 15-17, 2006)
- Martha (October 5, 2006)
- Sunday NFL Countdown (2007)
- Die Muppets promotion with Marsimoto (2012)
- Jim Henson's Musical World (2012)
Dr. Teeth (Jim Henson)
- The Mike Douglas Show, October 31, 1977
Rowlf the Dog (Jim Henson)
- Ol' Brown Ears is Back (recorded in 1984, released in 1993)
- Jim Henson's Memorial at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine (1990)
Oscar the Grouch (Caroll Spinney)
- Sesame Street, with altered lyrics on Episode 4105 (2005)
- Being Green, Elmo sings a verse before getting interrupted. (2009)
- Plaza Sésamo, in Spanish as "Ser Verde" (date unknown)
Performed in Muppet/Henson Productions
The following singers have performed "Bein' Green" in Muppet/Henson productions or related appearances as solos. (For duets with Kermit see above).
- The Playground, with commentary by Kermit (1998)
- released on Sing: Songs of Joe Raposo (1992)
- See below for other covers by Ray Charles.
- ¡Sesame Mucho! (1974)
- It's Not Easy Being Green audio book, spoken word (2005)
- Bob's Favorite Street Songs (1991)
- Easy Chair Jazz album, spoken word (1994)
- Renaissance album (1975)
- See above for covers by Ray Charles used in Muppet/Henson productions.
- Put On A Happy Face album (2008)
Andy Hallett (as Lorne on Angel)
- Angel episode, "The House Always Wins" (2002)
- Angel: Live Fast, Die Never - Music from the TV Series album (2005, unedited studio recording from 2002 episode)
- Light Out of Darkness (A Tribute To Ray Charles) album (1993)
- Gypsy of the Year Competition, dedicated to Idina Menzel as The Wicked Witch of the West in Wicked (2004)
Damian McGinty (as Rory Flanagan on Glee)
- Glee episode, "Pot O' Gold" (2011)
- Hard Nose the Highway album, studio version (1973)
- Bootleg album with The Caledonia Soul Orchestra, live version (1973)
- Sinatra & Company album (1970)
- rereleased on Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits Volume 2 album (1972)
- Kermit Unpigged (1994)
- Build a Bridge (2006)
- The Green Album (2011)
- Underscores the luncheon scene, following King Rupert the Second's story of meeting Taminella Grinderfall (1971).
- An brief instrumental version is part of the ending music sting to an early 1970's segment.
- Plays at the beginning of the special, following a commercial break (1986)
- underscore during a helicopter shot over the Walt Disney World parks (1990)
- Muppet*Vision 3D and theme park ambient music (1990)
- reused at Disney's California Adventure theme park.
- Easy Easy album (1997)
- That Summer album (2005)
- A very brief appearance of the tune is quoted in the underscore for Kermit's appearance in Elmo's World: Frogs
- The Sesame Street Song Book features lyrics and sheet music for this song.
- Being Green was an illustrated book which used the song's lyrics, but featured a lizard-like green creature instead of Kermit,
- The Muppet Show Book features lyrics to this song, along with illustrations based on the version from episode 219.
- The Reader's Digest Children's Songbook included sheet music for the song, as "It's Not Easy Being Green".
- The Sesame Street Songbook includes lyrics and sheet music.
- Sesame Street Unpaved included lyrics for this song, along with pictures from the original version.
- It's Not Easy Being Green and other things to consider is a book of Jim Henson and Muppet quotes released in 2005.
- Original Version:
- 1976 version:
The Muppet Show
- Episode 112 version:
- Episode 219 version:
- Lena Horne's version
- Oscar's version
- Lena Horne's version
- SesameStreet's YouTube Channel
- Lena Horne's version
- Oscar's version
- Sing! Sesame Street Remembers Joe Raposo and His Music (clips of Kermit's original version with performances by Ray Charles and Joe Raposo)
- Sesame Street All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever! (very brief clip of original version only)
- Sesame Street Unpaved (documentary) (original version, first verse cut)
- The Greatest TV Moments: Sesame Street Music A-Z (1976 version)
- The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years (clips of Muppet Show version and Kermit and Ray Charles singing)
- The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson (clips of the first Muppet Show version and Ray Charles' performance from 20 and Still Counting)
- The World of Jim Henson (Kermit and Ray Charles' version)
- I Love Muppets (clips)
- State of the Arts (clips)
The catchphrase "It's not easy being green" has been referenced many times, both by the Muppets and by others.
- In the second volume of the Muppet Babies video storybook series, before reading If I Were Just Like Kermit, Kermit says that he hopes that Baby Fozzie knows what he is doing trying to be like Kermit "because it's not easy being green".
- One of the Muppet Sing-Along videos was titled It's Not Easy Being Green.
- In a Sesame Street segment where Kermit is auditioning wolves for the role of The Big Bad Wolf, after Kermit turns down a medium-sized wolf, that wolf thinks it is because he is green, saying that "it's not easy being green". Kermit then says that he's noticed that.
- In the Sesame Street song, "I'm Between", Tony, squashed between two monsters, sings this lyric: "It's easier by far being green than being between."
- On The Electric Company, the Short Circus perform the song, "Why", a lyrical list of questions about the world. Included is: "Why ain't it easy being green?" (The song appears on the penultimate episode of The Best of the Electric Company Vol. 1 DVD set.)
- When Kermit guest starred on Deal or No Deal, he said that "it's not easy getting green".
- A promo for the 2005 DVD releases of The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Muppet Treasure Island ends with Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and Gonzo saying "Celebrating 50 years of being green".
- In a 1976 appearance on The Mike Douglas Show, when Mike Douglas mentions that green is a good color, Kermit comments that it's not easy being green, leading to a brief discussion of the song.
- A faux commercial for an album by Singing Food in episode 112 of The Jim Henson Hour features the song "It's Not Easy Being Greens."
- On the news program Canada AM in 2009, Oscar the Grouch is interviewed for Waste Reduction Week, and says "It's easy being green. You should try it!"
- In a 2006 appearance on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, while Kermit is going over the checklists, he says "It's not that easy choosing green."
- In a 2010 episode of Sesame Street, in the midst of a vegetable protest, an angry stalk of broccoli yells out "It ain't easy bein' green!"
- In the extended version of "Let's Talk About Me" from The Muppets, Tex Richman raps "Ooo, it's easy havin' this much green!"
- In episode 406 of The Muppet Show, the Swedish Chef hums the song to himself as he spray-paints his chopped-liver Kermit green.
- In the "Kermit's Party" short "Gonzo's Stunt Spectacular!," Kermit, covered with yellow finger paint from Gonzo's failed balancing act, remarks, "It's not that easy being clean."
- I Love Muppets lists the song as Kermit's favorite.
- ↑ "Beatles and Beethoven, Move on Over: The Seventies Sounds is Sesame Street." CTW Press Release. January 10, 1971
- ↑ Sidney Herald "Going green: Ethanol may be part of country’s path for energy independence" by Linsey Bright, 8/12/08
- ↑ Street Gang page 256
- ↑ The Greatest TV Moments: Sesame Street Music A-Z