George Baker (Dutch singer)

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George Baker
George Baker Selection.jpg
Background information
Birth name Johannes Bouwens
Born (1944-12-08) 8 December 1944 (age 72)
Origin Hoorn, Netherlands
Genres Pop
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Years active 1967–present
Website www.georgebaker.com

George Baker (born Johannes (Hans) Bouwens, 8 December 1944) is a Dutch singer and songwriter who, with his band George Baker Selection, scored two international hits in the 1970s, "Paloma Blanca" and "Little Green Bag." He became a solo artist after 1989. "Little Green Bag" was used as the opening soundtrack for the movie Reservoir Dogs.

Childhood[edit]

Bouwens was born 8 December 1944, the child of a Dutch woman and an Italian soldier who ended up in the Netherlands during World War II as a prisoner of war. His father was killed while attempting to escape, before Bouwens was born. He was reared in Hoorn, in a working-class neighborhood, with only a radio and a stack of books to keep him company after all his friends moved on to better neighborhoods.[1] His musical idol, as was the case with many of his generation, was Elvis Presley.[2]

George Baker Selection[edit]

George Baker in 1974.

By 1967 Bouwens was living in Wormerveer and joined the band Soul Invention, a soul band which played covers of songs by Otis Redding and Sam and Dave. They changed their name to "The George Baker Selection," Bouwens naming himself for a character from a detective novel.[2] The band consisted of Jan Hop, Jacobus Greuter, George Thé, and Jan Visser. Their first album, Little Green Bag (1970), produced an immediate worldwide hit:[2] their debut single, "Little Green Bag," reached No. 16 on the Cash Box magazine chart and No. 21 on the Billboard Top 100 in the United States. The song was written in reference to the American dollar and was titled "Little Greenback" but the record company misinterpreted the words. The "new" name stuck and it was used. However, the words in the song, then and now, are "greenback," not "green bag."[3] The success came as a surprise for Baker, who remembers hearing it on the radio while he was working in a lemonade factory.[2] The single sold over one million copies globally, and received a gold disc.[4] A string of singles and albums followed; the second single, "Dear Ann," was such a success that Baker resigned from his job in the lemonade factory and became a full-time musician. Besides scoring hits with his own Selection, he also wrote songs for others, including BZN, The Shoes, Andy Star, and Next One. In 1974, singer Lida Bond joined the Selection, and combining her voice with Baker's proved highly successful.[2]

The Selection's fifth album, Paloma Blanca, was released in 1975, and the single "Paloma Blanca" reached No. 1 on charts in several countries. By this time Nelleke Brzoskowsky was the singer; she had joined in 1975. "Paloma Blanca" sold more than seven million copies worldwide, making it one of the most successful Dutch singles ever.[2]

In 1978, Baker disbanded the Selection because "the pressure had become too much." The band has sold over 20 million records worldwide. However, Baker formed a new George Baker Selection in 1985, which stayed together till 1989.[3] The second version of the Selection has released twelve albums and several compilation albums.

The Selection experienced a brief return to the international charts in 1992 when the song "Little Green Bag" was used in the title sequence of the film Reservoir Dogs and in a Chilean soap opera. The song was also featured in a Moto X smartphone commercial circa 2013.

In 2015, "Little Green Bag" was used in the fadeout of some episodes of series two of the Australian drama LOVE CHILD.

Solo career[edit]

After he disbanded the Selection in 1978, Baker performed as a solo artist till 1985, when he briefly returned with a new roster of the Selection. In 1989, he returned to solo work.[3] In 2005, he released a remix of the song "Paloma Blanca" for the film Too Fat Too Furious. As a solo artist, he had released nine albums as of early September of 2017. He was managed by Jaap Buijs, who died in 2015.[citation needed]

Discography[edit]

George Baker Selection albums[edit]

Year Album[5] Chart Positions
US CAN
1970 Little Green Bag
Love in the World
1972 Now
1974 Hot Baker
1975 Paloma Blanca
A Song for You
1976 River Song
So Lang die Sonne Scheint
1977 Summer Melody
1983 Paradise Island
1985 Santa Lucia by Night
1987 Viva America
1988 From Russia with Love

George Baker solo albums[edit]

Year Album[5]
1978 In Your Heart
Another Lonely Christmas Night
1979 Sing for the Day
1980 Wild Flower
1981 The Winds of Time
1989 Dreamboat
1991 Love in Your Heart
1993 Memories
2000 Flashback
2009 Lonely Boy

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak
positions
Album
US
[6]
US AC US Country CAN CAN AC CAN Country NL AUS NZ
1969 "Little Green Bag" 21 16 9 12 15 Little Green Bag
1970 "Dear Ann" 93 2 37 12
"I Wanna Love You" 103
1973 "Marie-Jeanne" - 14 (Single)
1974 "Baby Blue" 8[7] 29 1 Hot Baker[8]
"Cante Libre" - 19
1975 "Sing A Song Of Love" - - - - - - - - 19 (Single)
"Paloma Blanca" 26 1 33 10 1 36 1 2 1 Paloma Blanca
"Rose Marie" 35
"Morning Star" - 19
1978 "Rosita" (solo artist) 98 In Your Heart

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Het verhaal van George Baker" (in Dutch). Nu.nl. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Weekartiest: George Baker Selection" (in Dutch). NPO Radio 5. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "George Baker Biography". georgebaker.com. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  4. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 273. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  5. ^ a b "George Baker Discography". georgebaker.com. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 56. ISBN 0-89820-188-8. 
  7. ^ "dutchcharts.nl – George Baker Selection – Baby Blue" (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  8. ^ "Album: Hot Baker (1974) – Official George Baker website". Retrieved 2014-04-27. 

External links[edit]