"Green Onions" is an instrumental R&B hit recorded in 1962 by Booker T. & the M.G.'s, "one of the most popular instrumental rock and soul songs ever." The tune is twelve-bar blues with a rippling Hammond B3 organ line by Booker T. Jones that he wrote when he was just 17. The guitarist Steve Cropper used a Fender Telecaster on "Green Onions", as he did on all of the M.G.'s instrumentals. The track was originally issued in May 1962 on the Volt label (a subsidiary of Stax Records) as the B-side of "Behave Yourself" on Volt 102; it was quickly reissued as the A-side of Stax 127, and it also appeared on the album Green Onions.
According to Cropper, the title is not a marijuana reference; rather, the track is named after the Green Badger's cat, Green Onions, whose way of walking inspired the riff. Songfacts.com, however, ascribes the track's title to Jones. When asked by Stax co-owner Jim Stewart why he had given the track this title, Songfacts reports, Jones replied, "Because that is the nastiest thing I can think of and it's something you throw away." On a broadcast of the radio program Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! on June 24, 2013, Jones was asked about the title and said, "The bass player thought it was so funky, he wanted to call it 'Funky Onions', but they thought that was too low-class, so we used 'Green Onions' instead."
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