Thursday, January 7, 2010

Battle Of New Orleans And "The 8th of January"

The Number one song of 1959!
In eighteen-fourteen we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississipp'
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans
We fired our guns and the British kept a comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico
We looked down the river and we seed the British come
And there must've been a hundred of 'em beatin' on the drum
They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring
We stood beside our cotton bales, didn't say a thing
We fired . . .
Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise
If we didn't fire muskets till we looked 'em in the eye
We held our fire till we seed their faces well
Then we opened up our squirrel guns and really gave 'em well
We fired . . .
Yeah they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico
We fired our cannon till the barrel melted down
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round
We filled his head with cannonballs and powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off the 'gator lost his mind
We fired . . .
They ran . . .

from wikipedia
"The Battle of New Orleans" is the name of a song written by Jimmie Driftwood. The song details the 1815 Battle of New Orleans from the perspective of an American fighting alongside Andrew Jackson against British forces, but the tone is lighthearted. It has been recorded by many artists, but the one most often associated with this song is Johnny Horton. His version topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959 (see 1959 in music).
In Billboard magazine's rankings of the top songs in the first fifty years of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, "The Battle of New Orleans" was ranked as the twenty-eighth song overall and the number-one country song to appear on the chart.[2]
The melody has its roots in a well-known American fiddle tune "The 8th of January", which was the date of the Battle of New Orleans. Jimmie Driftwood, a school principal in Arkansas with a passion for history, set a historical account of the battle to this music in an attempt to get students interested in learning history. It worked, and Driftwood became well known in the region for his historical songs. He was "discovered" in the late 1950s by Don Warden, and eventually signed to a recording contract by RCA, for whom he recorded 12 songs in 1958, including "The Battle of New Orleans".
"The Battle of New Orleans" is often played during North American sporting events, and is commonly heard during home games of the NHL's Calgary Flames.
Other versions
As noted, Johnny Horton's 1959 version is the best-known recording of the song. Horton also recorded an alternative version for release in British Commonwealth countries which had more favourable lyrics toward the British. The word "British" was replaced with "Rebels" along with a few other differences.
Many other artists have recorded this song. Notable versions include the following:
* In the United States, Vaughn Monroe's 1959 single competed with Horton's but did not achieve the same degree of success and became only a minor Hot 100 hit.
* In the United Kingdom, Lonnie Donegan and His Skiffle Group's 1959 version competed with Horton's and achieved greater success, peaking at number two. In Donegan's spoken introduction, he made it clear that the British were on the losing side.
* Harpers Bizarre had a minor Hot 100 hit with their somewhat psychedelic version from their 1968 album Secret Life of Harpers Bizarre.
* Johnny Cash covered the song in 1972 on the album America: A 200-Year Salute in Story and Song.
* The Germany-based Les Humphries Singers 1972 hit, "Mexico", used the melody and parts of the lyrics, violating copyright by crediting the song to British bandleader Les Humphries.
* Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had a minor Hot 100 hit with their version in 1974.
* Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen played a cover of the song at their performance in New York, NY, on September 14, 1976.[3]
* Bill Haley recorded a version in 1979 at his final recording sessions and it was released on his final album, Everyone Can Rock and Roll.
* Perhaps the most unexpected recording is The Mormon Tabernacle Choir's 1991 cover on their album Songs from America's Heartland.
Country parodists Homer and Jethro had a hit when they parodied "The Battle of New Orleans" with their song "The Battle of Kookamonga." The single was released in 1959 and featured production work by Chet Atkins. In this version, the scene shifts from a battleground to a campground, with the combat being changed to the Boy Scouts chasing after the Girl Scouts.

No comments: