Sunday, October 14, 2007

Song of the Day: A Boy Named Sue

So, the other day I was listening to music and the Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue" started playing. I've always loved that song, and I started to wonder why exactly I liked it so much. Sure, the lyrics tell an interesting story, and it's got a catchy rhythm, but there's something more, something unique to it. All of the sudden, it hit me. It's the rhyme scheme! (Let's just pretend that people who mentally envision rhyme schemes while listening to music are cool, OK?)

For example:

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,
I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars
And kill that man who gave me that awful name.

It's

A
A
B
C
C
B

I can't recall ever hearing a similar pattern in a song. Frankly, it's genius. I did a little more research (i.e. a Google search) and discovered that the song was written by the poet Shel Silverstein.

Oh, for a long time, I only had the censored version, which contains the following line:

"Cause I'm the BLEEEEEP that named you "Sue.'"

I assumed that, because of the context and all, the bleeped out word was mother*&^#er. It's not. It's "son of a bitch." I guess the big MF was a little too gangsta for the 1960s.

And now, for your listening pleasure:

mp3: A Boy Named Sue, by Johnny Cash.

7 comments:

Frances said...

I love that song too...I think it is hilarious that you were looking up rhyme schemes on the internet for a popular Johnny Cash song!

Kris said...

Did you see the MetaFilter discussion about the bawdier sequel version he wrote? It seriously veers into squick territory.

eileen said...

I wish I never saw the sequel. Yikes! Where the Sidewalk Ends seems dirty now.

Although I did find the line
"Kickin and gouging in the mud and the blood and the creme de menthe" amusing.

carmen said...

that is what we called jase before he was born. most people didn't get it.

Tom said...

heads up:your horse boys are featured on uncrate.com

nice, eh?

Tom said...

Also, Shel Silverstein also wrote this gem from sesame street

(I think, at least, I've always been told it was ss)

-t

Kevin said...

I love Johnny Cash's greatest hits. I lived on that album for 10 months. I like the song Sunday Morning. And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad so I had one more for dessert.