Ballad of Ira Hayes

Johnny CashBuy this song

Johnny Cash

John R. "Johnny" Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003), was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Although he is primarily remembered as a country music icon, his songs and sound spanned many other … more »

Ira Hayes, 
Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Gather round me people there's a story I would tell
About a brave young Indian you should remember well
From the land of the Pima Indian
A proud and noble band
Who farmed the Phoenix valley
In Arizona land

Down the ditches for a thousand years
The water grew Ira's peoples' crops
'Till the white man stole the water rights
And the sparkin' water stopped

Now Ira's folks were hungry
And their land grew crops of weeds
When war came, Ira volunteered
And forgot the white man's greed

Call him drunkin' Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian 
Nor the Marine that went to war

They battled up Iwo Jima's hill
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty-seven lived to walk back down again

And when the fight was over
And when Old Glory raised
among the men who held it high
Was the Indian, Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war 

Ira returned a hero
Celebrated through the land
He was wined and speeched and honored;
Everybody shook his hand

But he was just a Pima Indian
No water, no crops, no chance
At home nobody cared what Ira'd done
And when do the Indians dance

Call him drunken Ira Hayes 
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian 
Nor the Marine that went to war

Then Ira started drinkin hard;
Jail was often his home
They'd let him raise the flag and lower it
Like you'd throw a dog a bone!

He died early drunk one mornin'
Alone in the land he fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
Was the grave for Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes
But his land is just as dry
And his ghost is lyin' thirsty
In the ditch where Ira died

Written by: PETER LAFARGE

Lyrics © CARLIN AMERICA INC

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

Discuss the Ballad of Ira Hayes Lyrics with the community:

Citation

Use the citation below to add these lyrics to your bibliography:

Style:MLAChicagoAPA

"Ballad of Ira Hayes Lyrics." Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2016. Web. 27 Sep. 2016. <http://www.lyrics.com/lyric/18407365>.

Missing lyrics by Johnny Cash?

Know any other songs by Johnny Cash? Don't keep it to yourself!

Watch the song video

Ballad of Ira Hayes