A Musical History Of The Color Green

It's St. Patrick's Day, and as many of you have discovered, it is the only day out of the year when our normally free and enlightened society requires you to wear a certain color lest sudden and shocking violence be inflicted upon you. Every year on March 17, pinch-related emergency room visits skyrocket by 1000 percent, according to the Bureau of Dubious Statistics for Use on Fox News Only (BDSUFNO).

The color you are required to wear, of course, is green, and it's been associated with St. Patrick's Day for over 200 years, ever since St. Patrick himself was crucified upside down while being burnt at the stake for the crime of performing Christian marriages on snakes.

Although embraced by the churches of today - St. Patrick did, after all, only marry boy snakes to girl snakes - snake marriage was a controversial issue back in 1776, and despite attempts by both Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte to intervene on St. Patrick's behalf, he was still executed and buried on a lonely green hill in Ireland. To this day, his gravesite remains the only place in that country where shamrocks will grow.

This will all be on the quiz, by the way.

It's a well-known fact that the people of Ireland and even their descendants are strictly forbidden from performing or recording any kind of traditional folk music, so in lieu of that, here are some green songs to enhance your St. Patrick's Day spirit.

And when you're deep-frying the traditional St. Patty's Day veal, always remember to peel the figs before using them in the stuffing. Unpeeled figs explode like flash grenades when exposed to hot oil.

  • "Greensleeves," as played first by an automated iPhone trombone app called iBone, and then by the owner of the phone, who frankly flips out a little at the end.
  • Tom Jones sings "The Green, Green Grass of Home," a traditional song written in salute to the rolling, verdant hills of Las Vegas.
  • The married duo of Jon Spencer and his hot wife Christina, who comprise Boss Hog, perform "Green Shirt," which has as little in common with the Elvis Costello song of the same name as is scientifically possible.
  • The Jayhawks perform "Tomorrow the Green Grass" just before Mark Olson left the band.
  • The Outlaws and their 10-minute opus "Green Grass and High Tides." Radio DJs used to love songs like this because it gave them time to go to the bathroom, drop some acid, fix a sandwich, and catch up on some reading.
  • Lucinda Williams tells whoever was dumb enough to not really love her to go back to "Greenville," which, if she's referring to the one in Texas, is a really awful thing to say to somebody.
  • According to The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle, "Pale Green Things" required him to reach down deeper than any other song of his. And most Mountain Goats songs aren't exactly cool and detached anyway, so be ready for that.
  • Tom Waits performs "All the World Is Green" live on The Late Show With David Letterman, then sits down to chat just in case you weren't completely convinced that he's the most awesome person alive.
  • George Baker Selection performs "Little Green Bag," which most of you know as the theme to Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, and Steve Buscemi walking down the street.
  • Here's a band from Boston singing "Green Fields of France," which somehow managed to be the most Irish song on this list. It's about a kid who was killed in World War I. Happy St. Patty's Day!

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