George Baker

George Baker
Release date
01 January 1970
George Baker
01 January 1970 |

George Baker 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.

In 1968, Bouwens joined the band Soul Invention, a soul band which was founded the previous year by Henk Kramer in Assendelft and played covers of songs by Otis Redding and Sam and Dave. The band consisted of Job Netten (guitar), Henk Kramer and Eric Bardoen (saxophone), Jacques Greuter (keyboard and flute), Theo Vermast and later Jan Visser (bass), and Ton Vredenburg (drums). Visser and Bouwens wrote the song “Little Greenback” (sic) in the summer of 1969. The band recorded their first album in September 1969, after which, considering this was no soul music, they changed their name to “The George Baker Selection,” Bouwens naming himself for a character from a detective novel.[6] This first album, Little Green Bag (1970), produced an immediate worldwide hit:[6] 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 success came as a surprise for Baker, who remembers hearing it on the radio while he was working in a lemonade factory. The single sold over one million copies globally, and received a gold disc. 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. Not all band members followed suit, and besides Bouwens, the “Selection” from mid-1970 was formed by Jan Visser, Jan Hop (drums), Jacques Greuter and George Thé (voice, guitar, bass). In March 1971 Jan Visser left the band to be replaced by Cor Veerman. 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.
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.

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. The second version of the Selection has released twelve albums and several compilation albums.

Baker was one of the artists who recorded the song Shalom from Holland (written by Simon Hammelburg and Ron Klipstein) as a token of solidarity to the Israeli people, threatened by missiles from Iraq, during the first Gulf War in 1991.
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. In 2017 and 2018 it was rerecorded as “Lidl Brown Bag” (fresh-baked breadrolls) and “Lidl Green Bag” (fruit and vegetables) for the Lidl supermarket chainstore.

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. 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 2017.