Song of the Day Nov 20
November 20, 2023
Today our song is: Big Bad John by Jimmy Dean
Wikipedia tells us this about the song:
"Big Bad John" is a country song originally performed by Jimmy Dean, who wrote and composed it. Jimmy Dean was an American country music singer, television host, actor and businessman. He was the creator of the Jimmy Dean sausage brand as well as the spokesman for its TV commercials, and his likeness continues to be used in advertisements after his death.
The Song was released in September 1961 and by the beginning of November it had gone to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It won Dean the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording, and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.
The song is about a mysterious and quiet miner who earns the nickname Big John because of his height, weight, and muscular physique – "He stood six foot six and weighed 245". He apparently hails from New Orleans, where, with "a crashin' blow from a huge right hand", he allegedly killed a man in a fight over a Cajun Queen.
One day, a support timber cracks at the mine where John works. The situation looks hopeless until John "grabbed a saggin' timber, gave out with a groan / and like a giant oak tree just stood there alone", then "gave a mighty shove", opening a passage and allowing the 20 other miners to escape. Just as men are about to re-enter with the tools necessary to save him, the mine fully collapses and John is believed dead. The mine itself is never reopened, but a marble stand is placed in front of it, with the words "At the bottom of this mine lies one hell of a man – Big John." (Some versions of the song change the last line to "lies a big, big man" to replace what was considered profane language.)