George Baker (born Johannes Bouwens, 8 December 1944) 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 is now a solo artist.
Bouwens was born 8 December 1944, the child of a Dutch woman and an Italian soldier who ended up in the Netherlands during World War 2 as a prisoner of war. His father was killed while attempting to escape, before Bouwens was born. He was raised in Hoorn, in a working class neighborhood, with only a radio and a stack of books to keep him company after all his friends moved on to better neighborhoods. His musical idol was Elvis.
George Baker Selection:
By 1967 Bouwens was living in Wormerveer and joined the band Soul Invention, a soul band which played covers of songs by Otis Redding and Sam and Dave. They changed their name to "George Baker Selection", Bouwens naming himself for a character from a detective novel. The band consisted of Jan Hop, Jacobus Greuter, George The, and Jan Visser. Their first album, Little Green Bag (1970), produced an immediate worldwide hit: 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 in on the radio at work, 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 quit his job in the lemonade factory and became a full-time musician. Besides scoring hits with his own band, he also wrote songs for others, including BZN, The Shoes, Andy Star, and Next One. In 1974 singer Lida Bond joined the band, and combining her voice with Baker's proved highly successful.
Their 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 the George Baker Selection split up because "the pressure had become too much." The band has sold over 20 million records worldwide. George Baker formed a new George Baker Selection in 1985, which stayed together until 1989. The band has released twelve albums and several compilation albums.
The band 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 is also featured in a Moto X smartphone commercial circa 2013.
After the George Baker Selection split up in 1978, Baker performed as a solo artist until 1985, when he briefly returned with a new George Baker Selection. Since 1989 he has once again worked solo. In 2005 he released a remix of the song "Una Paloma Blanca" for the film Too Fat Too Furious. As a solo artist, he has released nine albums. He is currently managed by Jaap Buijs.
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