A Boy Named Sue

Johnny Cash

About A Boy Named Sue

"A Boy Named Sue" is a song written by humorist and poet Shel Silverstein and made popular by Johnny Cash. Cash recorded the song live in concert on February 24, 1969 at California's San Quentin State Prison for his At San Quentin album. Cash also performed the song (with comical variations on the original performance) in December 1969 at Madison Square Garden. The live San Quentin version of the song became Cash's biggest hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and his only top ten single there, spending three weeks at No. 2 in 1969, held out of the top spot by "Honky Tonk Women" by The Rolling Stones. The track also topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs and Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks charts that same year and was certified Gold on August 14, 1969, by the RIAA. Silverstein's own recording was released the same year as "Boy Named Sue", a single on the album Boy Named Sue (and His Other Country Songs), produced by Chet Atkins and Felton Jarvis. 


Year:
2008
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Thank you
Well my daddy left home when I was three
Didn't leave much to my mom and me
Except this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze
Now, I don't blame him 'cause he run and hid
But the meanest thing that my daddy ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me Sue

He must've thought that it was quite a joke
And I got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk
Seems I had to fight my whole life through
Some gal would giggle and I'd turn red
And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head
I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named Sue

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

Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
And I just hit town and my throat was dry
Thought I'd stop and have myself a brew
At an old saloon on a street of mud
There at a table, dealing stud
Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me Sue

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had
Knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye
He was big and bent and gray and old
And I looked at him and my blood ran col
And I said, "my name is Sue, how do you do?
Now you gonna die"

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes
And he went down, but to my surprise
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear
Then I busted a chair right across his teeth
And we crashed through the walls and into the street
Kicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer

Well I tell ya, I've fought tougher men
But I really can't remember when
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss
And he reached for his gun but I pulled mine first
He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile

And he said, "son, this world is rough
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help you along
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
And I knew you'd have to get tough or die
It's that name that helped to make you strong"

He said, "now you just fought one heck of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do
But y ought to thank me, before I die
For the gravel in ya gut and the spit in ya eye
'Cause I'm the, that named you Sue"

What could I do? 
I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
I called him my pa, and he called me his son
Come away with a different point of view
And I think about him, now and then
Every time I try and every time I win
And if I ever have a boy, I'll name him
Bill or George or Frank, anything but Sue, Petor, I hate that name, thank you

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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 genres including rockabilly and rock and roll—especially early in his career—as well as blues, folk, and gospel. This crossover appeal led to Cash being inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Gospel Music Hall of Fame. more »

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Written by: SHEL SILVERSTEIN

Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

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