About the song
If you are a fan of country music, you probably know the song “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean. But do you know the meaning behind the song and its sequels? In this blog post, we will explore the story of Big Bad John, a hero who sacrificed his life to save his fellow miners.
The song “Big Bad John” was written and composed by Jimmy Dean in collaboration with Roy Acuff, and released in September 1961. By the beginning of November, it had gone to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as earning Jimmy Dean his first Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording. The song was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year .
The song tells the story of a mysterious and quiet miner who earns the nickname Big John because of his height, weight, and muscular physique. He apparently hails from New Orleans, where 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 grabs a sagging timber and opens a passage for 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 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.”
The song and its sequels tell a story typical of American folklore, reminiscent of Paul Bunyan or John Henry. Big Bad John was also the title of a 1990 television movie starring Dean. In October 1961, Dottie West recorded a sequel called “My Big John”, which is told from the point of view of the Cajun Queen that drove John away. In 1962, Jimmy Dean released another sequel called “The Cajun Queen”, which describes the arrival of Queenie, Big John’s Cajun Queen, who rescues John from the mine and marries him. Eventually, they have 110 grandchildren. The story concludes with the arrival of “Little Bitty Big John”, who learns about his father’s act of heroism.
The song “Big Bad John” is a classic example of country storytelling, with its catchy beats and witty lyrics. It has been covered by many artists, such as Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, and Conway Twitty. It is also considered one of the first examples of talking blues , a style of music that involves speaking or chanting lyrics rather than singing them. The song has become a part of American culture, inspiring books, comics, and even a board game.
If you want to listen to the song “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean, you can find it on Spotify. You can also watch the video on YouTube, where you can see Jimmy Dean performing it live. We hope you enjoyed this blog post about the meaning behind the song and its sequels. Stay tuned for more posts about country music and its legends.