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Bein' Green

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Written by Joe Raposo
Date 1970
Publisher Jonico Music, Inc.
Green Fox Music Inc.
Sesame Street Kermit Sings Being Green(01:48)
Kermit's first performance of "Bein' Green" on the first season of Sesame Street.
For other uses, see Bein' Green (disambiguation)

"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.

Background

KermitBeinGreenTMS2
Kermit's performance of the song on The Muppet Show episode 219.

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."[1] 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.[2]

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.[3]

Performances

Image Year Description
Beingreen1969
1970 Sesame Street (First: Episode 0087)
By Kermit the Frog
CC1970Animals
1970 The Sesame Street Book & Record
By Kermit the Frog
Noimage
1971 Pure Goldie
By Kermit the Frog and Goldie Hawn
Noimage
1971 Evening at Pops
By Kermit the Frog
JOSS03
1973 Julie on Sesame Street
By Kermit the Frog and Julie Andrews
Noimage
1974 The Tonight Show
By Kermit the Frog
BeinGreen-WML
1974 What's My Line
By Kermit the Frog
Song.BeinGreen.Kermit.LenaHorne
1974 Sesame Street (EKA: Episode 0871)
By Kermit the Frog and Lena Horne
Noimage
1974 ¡Sesame Mucho!
By José Feliciano
Kermitraygreen
1975 Cher
By Kermit the Frog and Ray Charles
112green
1976 The Muppet Show episode 112
By Kermit the Frog
Song.beinggreen76
1976[4] Sesame Street (EKA: Episode 3140)
By Kermit the Frog
219 bein green
1977 The Muppet Show episode 219
By Kermit the Frog
Album.muppetshowlp
1977 The Muppet Show album
By Kermit the Frog
Noimage
1977 The Mike Douglas Show, October 31, 1977
By Dr. Teeth
DiscoLP
1979 Sesame Disco! (disco version)
By Kermit the Frog
TS-Green
1979 The Tonight Show
By Kermit the Frog
Ontourlogo
1984 The Muppet Show On Tour
By Kermit the Frog
Cev88 bgk
1988 Royal Variety Performance
By Kermit the Frog
Noimage
1988 Center for Puppetry Arts
By Kermit the Frog
Noimage
1989 From the Heart... The First International Very Special Arts Festival
By Kermit the Frog with "Kerm-2"
RayCharlesandMonsters
1989 Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting
By Ray Charles with the monsters
Noimage
1990 Earth Day 1990 PSA
By Kermit the Frog
Noimage
1990 Here Come the Muppets
By Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, and Bean Bunny
Noimage
1990 Jim Henson's Memorial at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
By Big Bird
Noimage
1991 Bob's Favorite Street Songs
By Bob McGrath
Album.brownears
1993 Ol' Brown Ears is Back
By Rowlf the Dog
Album.unpigged
1994 Kermit Unpigged
By Don Henley and Kermit the Frog
Noimage
1996 The Rosie O'Donnell Show (September 6, 1996)
By Kermit the Frog
Rickles.kermit
1997 Muppets Tonight episode 205
By Don Rickles
Album.playground
1998 The Playground
By Tony Bennett with commentary by Kermit the Frog
Kermitand calvinray
2001 The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon
By Kermit the Frog and Calvin Ray Johnson
TMS-live-green
2001 The Muppet Show Live
By Kermit the Frog
Oscar.being.green
2005 Sesame Street Episode 4105
By Oscar the Grouch (with altered Grouchy lyrics)
ItsNotEasyBeingGreenBook
2005 It's Not Easy Being Green audio book
As a spoken word read by Whoopi Goldberg
Ford3
2006 Ford Escape Hybrid commercial
By Kermit the Frog
Noimage
2006 Hollywood Bowl "Fireworks Finale"
By Kermit the Frog
Noimage
2006 Martha (October 5, 2006)
By Kermit the Frog
Noimage
2007 Sunday NFL Countdown
By Kermit the Frog
EasyBeingGreen
2009 Being Green
By Elmo
SerVerde
2009 Plaza Sésamo
In Spanish by Abelardo Montoya as "Ser Verde" (YouTube)
Germany-DieMuppetsPromotion-Kermit&Marsimoto-(2012)
2012 Die Muppets promotion
By Kermit the Frog and Marsimoto
KermitCarnegieHall
2012 Jim Henson's Musical World
By Kermit the Frog
TheVoice-Green
2012 The Voice
By Kermit the Frog and Cee Lo Green
TSSJF
2014 The Tonight Show
By Kermit the Frog and Jimmy Fallon

Covers

Rubberduckiesongs

Instrumentals

Album.wishuponastar

Publications

Beingreen-book
  • Being Green was an illustrated book which used the song's lyrics, but featured a lizard-like green creature instead of Kermit,

Video releases

Beingreen-singalong

Sesame Street

  • Original Version:
  • 1976 version:
  • Oscar the Grouch version:

The Muppet Show

Online releases

Sesame Street

Specials

Sesame Street

Muppets

References

The catchphrase "It's not easy being green" has been referenced many times, both by the Muppets and by others.

Notes

Sources

  1. "Beatles and Beethoven, Move on Over: The Seventies Sounds is Sesame Street." CTW Press Release. January 10, 1971
  2. Sidney Herald "Going green: Ethanol may be part of country’s path for energy independence" by Linsey Bright, 8/12/08
  3. Street Gang page 256
  4. The Greatest TV Moments: Sesame Street Music A-Z

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