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Kermit the Frog singing "Bein' Green" in episode 219 of The Muppet Show
|Song by Kermit the Frog|
"Bein' Green" (also known as "It's Not Easy Bein' Green") is a popular song written by Joe Raposo, originally performed by Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog on both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. It was later covered by Frank Sinatra and other performers.
In the Muppets version, Kermit begins by lamenting his green coloration, expressing that green "blends in with so many ordinary things" and wishing to be some other color. But by the end of the song, Kermit recalls positive associations with the color green, and concludes by accepting and embracing his greenness.
The song's signature line "It's not easy being green" is a phrase that has since appeared in many contexts in pop culture. It is often quoted as an expression of melancholy over one's lot in life. The song is associated with questions of identity and individuality, but also with themes such as self-love and celebration of diversity, especially in terms of race (or "color"), which was at the forefront of social debate within American culture at the time of the song's debut. With the growing usage of green as a reference to environmentalism, the phrase (or its counterstatement) is often used in that context as well. Most recently, the lyric "It's not easy being green" was used as the title for a 2014 episode of the TV series Once Upon a Time.
- Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, various Muppet productions, starting with the The Sesame Street Book & Record in 1970, until 1990 following Henson's death.
- Steve Whitmire as Kermit the Frog, various Muppet productions (1990s–present).
- Thurl Ravenscroft, 1970 album Rubber Duckie and Other Songs From Sesame Street
- Frank Sinatra, 1971 album Sinatra & Company.
- Urbie Green, 1972 album Bein' Green
- Buddy Rich, 1972 album Stick It
- Van Morrison, 1973 album Hard Nose the Highway
- Diana Ross, 1974 album Live at Caesars Palace
- Ray Charles, 1975 album Renaissance; this version gained popularity thanks to an episode of The Cosby Show. Charles then sang a duet with Kermit on Sesame Street and The Cher Show and also sang the song on the 1989 special Sesame Street... 20 Years & Still Counting.
- Jackie McLean, 1978 album New Wine in Old Bottles.
- Keith Harris and Orville the Duck, 1983 single
- Mandy Patinkin, 1990 album Dress Casual
- Rowlf the Dog, 1993 album Ol' Brown Ears is Back
- Jill O'Hara, 1993 album Jill O'Hara, titled "Green"
- Shirley Horn, 1993 album Light Out of Darkness (A Tribute to Ray Charles)
- Stan Kenton, 1992 7.5 on the Richter Scale, titled "It's Not Easy Bein' Green"
- Don Henley with Kermit, 1994 album Kermit Unpigged
- Mike Campbell, 1994 Easy Chair Jazz;
- Vanessa Rubin, 1995 album Vanessa Rubin Sings
- Boston Pops Orchestra, 1996 album Wish Upon a Star/All-Time Children's Favorites
- Johnny Lytle, 1997 album Easy Easy, completely instrumental
- Tony Bennett, 1998 album The Playground
- Bob McGrath, 1998 album Bob's Favorite Street Songs
- Manfred Krug, 2000 album Schlafstörung, titled "Frosches Lied (Bein' Green)" with German lyrics
- Andy Hallett, as Lorne in TV series Angel episode "The House Always Wins", and on the 2004 soundtrack album, Angel: Live Fast, Die Never
- Mark Murphy, 2005 album Once to Every Heart
- Oscar the Grouch, 2005 season of Sesame Street
- Till Brönner, German jazz bugler, 2005 album That Summer
- Audra McDonald, 2006 album Build a Bridge
- Sophie Milman, 2007 album Make Someone Happy
- Matthew White, Music and Sweet Poetry Agree
- Take 6, 2008 album The Standard
- Della Reese, recorded the song for her 1973 album "Let Me in Your Life"
- Andrew Bird, 2011 tribute/cover album Muppets: The Green Album
- Damian McGinty, 2011 episode "Pot O' Gold" Glee (TV series)
- Cee Lo Green and Kermit, 2012 episode The Voice
- Brenna Whitaker, 2015 album We Love Disney
The song was sung by Big Bird at the two memorial services for Jim Henson in 1990. (In his comedy special No Cure For Cancer, Denis Leary incorrectly mentions, in passing, Kermit singing the song at the Henson funeral as well.)