Greensleeves - more than you ever wanted to hear

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Next week I'll be writing about some of the worst hold music I've ever had to sit through. In researching the post, I discovered that in the U.K., Greensleeves is the most loathed hold music tune. This makes sense, as the song originates in their neck of the woods. No one knows who penned the song, but many think it was composed by King Henry VIII for his lover and future queen consort Anne Boleyn. This is doubtful, however, since the style in which the song was composed wasn't popular until after Henry VIII's death. The lyrics, which were already popular around Shakespeare's time (he references them in The Merry Wives of Windsor) have been the subject of much intellectual discourse and debate. Here's a sample before I tell you about the debate:

Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

Your vows you've broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity.

Scholars have long questioned the meaning of these words. According to Wiki (What? That's scholarly, no?) "One possible interpretation of the lyrics is that Lady Green Sleeves was a promiscuous young woman and perhaps a prostitute. At the time, the word "green" had sexual connotations, most notably in the phrase "a green gown", a reference to the way that grass stains might be seen on a lady's dress if she had made love outside.

Whatever you think the words mean, there's no denying the tune's staying power and earworm factor. (Yeah, it goes to 11 in my book.) Here, then, are nine variations that show how ubiquitous the song is, and, if nothing else, will have you humming it to yourself all day long (sorry!).

1. The Titanic Version

2. The Classical Guitar Version

3. The Liberace Version

4. The Massage Therapy Version

5. The Smooth Jazz Version

6. The Progressive Jazz Version

7. The Hillbilly Version

(my personal favorite!)

8. The Virtuoso Version

9. The Orchestral Version

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March 10, 2010 - 4:00am
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