25 May 2013


Some of us had a request recently to play The Green Leaves of Summer and we were a little embarrassed because we could not oblige. We were not sure of the chords and would probably have been more than suspect on the dots too. Ralph and I decided we had better do some homework and learn the tune.

In the U.K., The Green Leaves of Summer was made famous in the 1960s by Kenny Ball and his Band. (Sadly, Kenny died on 7 March 2013.) Their version (available on You Tube) has it in F minor; and later (when the trombone takes over the lead) they step up a tone to G minor.

What a great little tune it is! It sounds simple enough, but its special effect is due to its unique progression largely through minor chords.

Internet research reminded me that it was written for the film The Alamo in 1960 by the great American (Russian emigré) film composer Dimitri Tiomkin. What a lot of fine music he had to his credit!

Having spent an hour listening to the tune and tinkering on my keyboard, I came up with a sort of lead sheet for The Green Leaves of Summer, 32 bars in F minor only. Now I must learn it.