20 OCTOBER 1966
The Sandpipers' sublime ‘Guantanamera’ was at its peak UK chart position of #7 on this day in 1966. It reached #9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts, and #3 on Adult Contemporary.
‘Guantanamera’ is a patriotic Cuban song, using a poem by the Cuban poet José Martí for the lyrics. The Sandpipers' version is based on an arrangement by Pete Seeger's folk group The Weavers, which used a tune credited to Joseíto Fernández. Seeger intended for the song to be sung in Spanish as a symbol of unity between the American and Cuban peoples.
B-side: 'What Makes You Dream, Pretty Girl?'
Recorded and released: 1966
Highest chart position: #7 (UK), #9 (US)
Producers: Tommy LiPuma
(Translated English lyrics)
'Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera
Guantanamera, guajira, guantanamera
I am a truthful man; I come from where the palm tree grows,
I am a truehearted man, who comes from where the palm trees grow,
Before I lay down my life, I long to coin the verses of my soul
I plant a snowy rose in January and July,
I grow a snowy rose in January and July,
For the open-hearted friend who puts a helping hand in mine
The words that I write are radiant crimson and emerald bright,
The poems that I write are radiant crimson and emerald bright,
My verses are a wounded deer seeking shelter in the mountain height.'