Introduction to George Baker Selection
The 70s music group George Baker Selection was led by Dutch singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter Johannes Bouwens born December 8, 1944 in Hoorn, Holland. His original band was formed in 1967 as the Soul Invention, but in 1969 changed it’s name to George Baker Selection. From that point on Bouwens became known as George Baker. In 1970 the group had their first hit song “Little Green Bag” (#21 Billboard Hot 100) written by Bouwens. The song was a worldwide hit selling over a million copies. In the U.S. they had two other minor hits in 1970 “Dear Ann” (#93 Hot 100) and “I Wanna Love You” (#102 Bubbling under the Hot 100). The group did not chart again until 1975 when they had their biggest hit song “Paloma Blanca” (#1 Billboard Adult Contemporary, #33 Billboard Country and # 26 Billboard Hot 100). The song again was a worldwide hit charting in the Top Ten in the UK, and #1 in several other countries. This would be the last time the group charted in the U.S. or UK, but they were still popular internationally. The George Baker Selection split in 1978 after selling more than 20 million records worldwide. George Baker began a solo career after the split, but reformed the group in 1985, before splitting again in 1989. Over the years there have been several members of the band including Hans Bouwens [aka George Baker] (vocals, guitar, recorder, organ, piano, mandolin, 1968-77, 1982-present), Eric Bardoen (saxophone, 1967-70), Job Netten (guitar, 1967-70), Henk Kramer (saxophone, 1967-70), Ton Vredenburg (drums, 1967-70), Theo Vermast (bass, 1967-68), Jan Visser (bass, 1968-71), Jacques Greuter (vocals, organ, piano, flute, 1967-82), Jan Hop (drums, 1970-), George Thé (vocals, guitar, bass, 1970-present), Cor Veerman [aka Alan Decker] (bass, 1971-74), Martin Schoen (bass, 1974-82), Lida Bond (vocals, 1974-77), Nathalie More (vocals, 1977-82), Willy Delano (vocals, 1977-82), Nelleke Brzoskowsky (vocals, 1982-present), Elly Bloothoofd (vocals, bass, 1982-present), Pieter Goeman (organ, piano, 1982-present). George still performs to this day with the band as well as a solo artist. Other George Baker Selection Hit Songs include: “Midnight,” “When We’re Dancing,” “Love in the World,” “(Fly Away) Little Paraquayo,” “African Dream,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “All My Love,” “From Russia With Love,” “Goodbye Little Boy,” “Holy Day,” “If You Understand,” “I’m Back,” “I’m on My Way,” “Jimmy,” “Morning Light,” “Morning Sky,” “Movie Lovers,” “Omaha,” “Paradise Island,” Santa Lucia by Night,” “The Wedding,” “The Wind,” “Viva America,” “Love Is the Sweetest Rose,” “I’ve Got My Freedom,” “Winter Time,” “Drink, Drink,” “The Fisherman,” “Manana,” “Take Me Home,” “So Alone Am I,” “Silver,” “The Singer,” “A Night Like This,” “Music Man,” “Dreamboat,” “Mary,” “Look for the Sun,” “Rosita,” “Flying,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Bye Bye My Love,” “Israel” and “Marie Julie.”
Formation and music career
Fronted by the multi-talented Dutch artist George Baker (born Johannes Bouwens in December 1944 in Netherlands), the George Baker Selection was an eclectic pop-rock group from the Netherlands who tasted some recognition in the 70s music scene. In 1967, the group was first called as the Soul Invention and after a couple years, they changed their name to George Baker Selection.
Recorded with the band’s own funds, the group released their debut single in 1969, “Little Green Bag.” The psychedelic rock tune became their first sizable hit, reaching #21 on the pop charts and #16 on the Cash Box magazine chart. It sold over one million copies and gained a gold disc status. By 1972, the record sales climbed up to 5 million copies.
Late in 1969, the group issued the next single “Dear Ann.” The country ballad peaked at #93 on the US Billboard charts. Despite the less popularity they gained in the US, they were a big time band in Holland and most of their singles became national radio hits such as “Morning Sky,” “Wild Bird,” “Manana,” “Holy Day,” and “I’m on My Way.”
In 1975, the George Baker Selection returned to prominence on the US charts. They achieved their most notable success with the single “Una Paloma Blanca.” The catchy and upbeat track was a phenomenal success — it became a chart-topper in many countries, peaked at #26 on the US charts and sold over three million copies worldwide. It also topped Billboard’s adult contemporary singles chart in that same year.
Throughout the band’s career, they sold over 20 million copies until their disbandment in 1978. Baker himself pursued his career as a solo artist afterwards. In 1985, he reestablished a new George Baker Selection which lasted until 1989. After that he emerged again as a solo artist.
In Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 film Reservoir Dogs, “Little Green Bag” featured prominently on the film’s soundtrack. It was also used on several TV shows such as Red Dwarf (1988) and Freaks and Geeks (1999).