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Battle of New Orleans (song): Wikis

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"The Battle of New Orleans"
Single by Johnny Horton
B-side "All for the Love of a Girl"
Released 1959
Length 2:33
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Jimmie Driftwood

"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[1] and the number-one country song to appear on the chart.[2]

Contents

History

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

Covers and remakes

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, although the original lyrics make it clear that following the battle the British "ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em, ran down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico."
  • 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.

Parodies

"The Battle of Kookamonga"

"The Battle of Kookamonga"
Single by Homer and Jethro
from the album Homer and Jethro at the Country Club
B-side "Waterloo"
Released 1959
Genre Country, Parody
Length 2:38
Label RCA Victor
Writer(s) Jimmie Driftwood, J. J. Reynolds

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.

Other parodies

References

External links

Preceded by
"Kansas City" by Wilbert Harrison
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Johnny Horton version)
May 26, 1959 – July 6, 1959 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Lonely Boy" by Paul Anka
Preceded by
"White Lightning" by George Jones
Hot C&W Sides
number one single by Johnny Horton

May 18, 1959 - July 20, 1959
(ten weeks)
Succeeded by
"Waterloo" by Stonewall Jackson
Preceded by
"Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu)" by Domenico Modugno
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single of the year
1959
Succeeded by
"Theme from A Summer Place" by Percy Faith

Redirecting to The Battle of New Orleans


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