The People’s Choice In English folk music
The popularity all over the world of this traditional English folk sound is unparalleled. The sound has stuck to people’s musical psyches for what seems like an eternity. The tune is memorable owing to the Romanesca (a Spanish legacy) in its beginning verse, repeated after the chorus and so on. The simplicity of the Romanesca chords (e.g. a C major chord in A minor) with a repeating bass makes the tune a veritable base material for embellishments. The tune “Greensleeves” may also be played in Romanesca’s slight variant, the Passamezzo Antico chord progression which was a product of the Italian Renaissance and widespread all over Europe(16th c.), and is still in current use in some popular music.
Do you wish to hear further proof of the superiority of the tune? Various Christmas and New Year carols were sung to the tune as early as 1686, most of them ending with “On Christmas Day in the morning”, an example of this is “What Child Is This” which was written by William Chatterton Dix (1865). The ice cream vans’ standard chime has been heard all over the globe particularly in the USA, UK, South Africa, Australia, India, Ireland, and New Zealand. On television, it was the “Lassie Tune” heard regularly during the closing credits of the TV show “Lassie” (1954-1973). The London Regiment adopted it as a quick March during World War I.
The song was first mentioned in history in 1580 and artists have recorded it multiple times ever since. It was John F. Kennedy’s English composition song pick as written in a letter (May 18, 1962) at his museum. In the Shakespearean play “The Merry Wives of Windsor” Shakespeare mentions the song in Act Two and Act Five. As previously mentioned, it was published in 1580 by Richard Jones as “A Newe Northern Dittye of ye Ladye Greene Sleves”. Interestingly, Nevill Coghill’s explanation in his translation of The Canterbury Tales is that the color green stands for lightness in love, as in “Greensleeves is my delight”.