Green Eyes (Aquellos Ojos Verdes)

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"Green Eyes"
("Those Green Eyes")
originally written as "Aquellos Ojos Verdes"
Written by Adolfo Utrera
Nilo Menéndez
Lyrics by (English) Eddie Rivera
Eddie Woods
Language originally Spanish
new English lyrics written 1929
Recorded by Jimmy Dorsey orchestra
many other artists; see #Recorded versions
Performed by Orquesta Aragon (1960s)

"Green Eyes" is a popular song, originally written in Spanish under the title "Aquellos Ojos Verdes" ("Those Green Eyes") by Adolfo Utrera and Nilo Menéndez, 1929. The English translation was made by Eddie Rivera and Eddie Woods in 1931.

Spanish version[edit]

The song, a bolero was written in 1929 and recorded in Cuba the same year. It was the only major hit, both originally in Cuba and then again in the Latin community in New York for Cuban pianist Nilo Menéndez (Matanzas, 26 September 1902 - Los Angeles, 15 September 1987). The lyrics were supplied by Cuban tenor Adolfo Utrera.[1]

English version[edit]

The English version of the song was written in 1931 but did not become a major hit till ten years later when recorded by the Jimmy Dorsey orchestra. The recording was made on March 19, 1941 with vocals by Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly[2] and released by Decca Records as catalog number 3698. The flip side was "Maria Elena." The record first reached the Billboard charts on May 9, 1941 and lasted 21 weeks on the chart, peaking at #1.[3] Since "Maria Elena" was also a #1 hit, this was a major double-sided hit recording. The Shadows performed an instrumental version of this song on their 1967 album Jigsaw. Gloria Jean sang the Spanish lyrics to "Aquellos Ojos Verdes" in the 1943 film, When Johnny Comes Marching Home.

Ben Affleck also sang the Spanish version, in the 2006 film, Hollywoodland, in pivotal scenes just prior to the fatal shooting of his character, George Reeves.

R&B group, the Ravens, had regional success with a 1955 revival.

Allan Sherman recorded a version titled "Green Stamps", a parody of S&H Green Stamps. During the recording session (according to the liner notes on the album), Sherman had a talk with the college types who hadn't heard of "Green Eyes." He said it was, like the Bossa Nova, once a red-hot tune by Helen O'Connell. He asked, "Any of you remember red-hot Helen O'Connell?" (About half did.)

Recorded versions[edit]

Lyrics[edit]

English lyrics[edit]

The version written for English audiences varies from the Spanish. The Big Band version typically had a male voice singing these words, followed by a female voice singing the same words, with the exception of the last line. This is one version:

Well, Green Eyes with their soft lights
Your eyes that promise sweet nights,
Bring to my soul a longing, a thirst for love divine
In dreams I seem to hold you, to find you and enfold you
Our lips meet and our hearts, too, with a thrill so sublime
Those cool and limpid Green Eyes
A pool wherein my love lies
So deep that in my searching for happiness
I fear that they will ever haunt me
All through my life they'll taunt me
But will they ever want me?

(Male voice)

Green Eyes, make my dreams come true.

(Female voice)

Green Eyes, I love you.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Josephine Powell Tito Puente: When the Drums Are Dreaming 2007 Page 21 2007 "Fellow Cuban Adolfo Utrera, a well-known tenor part of a core of singers recording consistently with Enric Madriguera, supplied the lyrics. Cugat wasn't pleased when his orchestra arrived in New York and the song had gained national recognition."
  2. ^ Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854.  Tape 2, side A.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.