Topaz Goldsmiths and Gallery

Topaz Goldsmiths and Gallery
August 28th, 2020
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we flip the 45 of The Kingston Trio's 1958 chart-topping hit, "Tom Dooley," to find a surprising gem of a song on the B-side, "Ruby Red."



Writers Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance employ rubies, diamonds, emeralds and sapphires in the lyrics to describe the one that got away.

Dave Guard, Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds of The Kingston Trio sing, "Ruby red were her lips. Diamond pure was her heart / Emerald green (emerald green) was the color of her eyes / A priceless gem of perfection, but I lost her 'neath the sapphire sky."

"Ruby Red" earned tremendous exposure on the B-side of a record that would sell more than three million copies and top the charts in five countries, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, Norway and Italy.

As the following songs attest, there is no shame in being on the B-side of a hit record...

• "Hound Dog," Elvis Presley (1953) / B-side of "Don't Be Cruel"

• "I Saw Her Standing There," The Beatles (1963) / B-side of "I Want To Hold Your Hand"

• "We Will Rock You," Queen (1977) / B-Side of "We Are the Champions"

• "You Can't Always Get What You Want," Rolling Stones (1969) / B-side of "Honky Tonk Women"

"Ruby Red" made its album debut as the 10th track of The Kingston Trio's second live album called Stereo Concert, which was released in 1959.

Only one year later, Pockriss and Vance would score their own #1 hit with "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini." Recorded by Brian Hyland, the song became a worldwide smash and sparked the sales of two-piece bathing suits.

The Kingston Trio is credited with launching the folk revival of the late 1950s. The group started as a San Francisco lounge act, but quickly gained international fame. The Kingston Trio received an honorary Grammy in 2011.

Although Shane, the last surviving original member of The Kingston Trio, passed away in January at the age of 85, the band continues to tour with a new cast of musicians.

Please check out the audio track of "Ruby Red." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Ruby Red"
Written by Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance. Performed by The Kingston Trio.

Ruby red, Ruby red

Ruby red were her lips. Diamond pure was her heart
Emerald green (emerald green) was the color of her eyes
A priceless gem of perfection, but I lost her 'neath the sapphire sky
Ruby red, Ruby red, Ruby red

I'd cross the wide Pacific and swim the China Sea
To have those lips of ruby red back here again with me
Ruby red, Ruby red
To have those lips of Ruby red back here, again, with me

Ruby red were her lips. Diamond pure was her heart
Emerald green (emerald green) was the color of her eyes
A priceless gem of perfection, but I lost her 'neath the sapphire sky
Ruby red, Ruby red, Ruby red

I thought I could forget, and so I sailed away, but I lived to regret until this very day
Ruby red, Ruby red
To have those lips of Ruby red back here, again, with me

Ruby red were her lips. Diamond pure was her heart
Emerald green (emerald green) was the color of her eyes
A priceless gem of perfection, but I lost her 'neath the sapphire sky
Ruby red, Ruby red, Ruby red

Ruby red. Ruby red


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.