Johnny Cash – A Boy Named Sue

Upon its release, "A Boy Named Sue" managed to reach the hearts of country music fans, this masterpiece reached number 1 on US Hot Country Songs (Billboard) and Canadian RPM Country Tracks. It was also a great success in countries like Australia (2), Ireland (3), England (4).

Unraveling the Legacy of Johnny Cash’s «A Boy Named Sue»

Ever found yourself hooked by a tale that seems straight out of a movie script? Well, let me take you on a journey into the heart of one of country music’s most intriguing stories. Imagine a young man seeking vengeance on his absent father, armed with nothing but a name. That’s the essence of Johnny Cash’s timeless classic, «A Boy Named Sue.» But there’s so much more beneath the surface of this iconic tune that resonates with audiences even today.

Date of Recording, Songwriter, and Producer:

Johnny Cash - A Boy Named Sue
Cover LP Johnny Cash Columbia 1969
Recorded live at San Quentin State Prison on February 24, 1969, «A Boy Named Sue» emerged from the creative genius of renowned songwriter Shel Silverstein. Johnny Cash, with his distinctive baritone voice, brought this narrative to life. The song was produced by Bob Johnston and became a standout track on Cash’s album «At San Quentin.»
Upon its release, «A Boy Named Sue» managed to reach the hearts of country music fans, this masterpiece reached number 1 on US Hot Country Songs (Billboard) and Canadian RPM Country Tracks. It was also a great success in countries like Australia (2), Ireland (3), England (4).

The Story Behind the Song:

«A Boy Named Sue» tells the tale of a boy abandoned by his father, who leaves him with nothing but a name—Sue. Fueled by anger and resentment, Sue spends his life searching for his absent father, determined to settle the score. The song’s humor and poignant storytelling struck a chord with audiences worldwide, earning it a permanent place in the annals of country music history.

The Meaning Behind the Music:

Beyond its catchy melody, «A Boy Named Sue» explores themes of identity, resilience, and the complexities of family relationships. It challenges societal norms and celebrates the human spirit’s ability to overcome adversity. Through Sue’s journey of self-discovery, listeners are reminded that our names don’t define us; it’s our actions and choices that shape our destiny.

Johnny Cash: A Legend Among Legends:

Johnny Cash - Big River
Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash, often referred to as the «Man in Black,» was more than just a singer; he was a cultural icon. With numerous number one hits and a career spanning decades, Cash’s impact on music and society is immeasurable. From «I Walk the Line» to «Ring of Fire,» his songs continue to captivate audiences of all ages, cementing his status as a true legend of country music.
So, the next time you hear Johnny Cash’s gravelly voice crooning about a boy named Sue, remember the timeless tale it tells. From its origins in a prison performance to its enduring legacy in the hearts of fans worldwide, «A Boy Named Sue» is more than just a song—it’s a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring spirit of country music.

**Remember, whether you’re a die-hard Cash fan or just discovering his music, «A Boy Named Sue» is a must-listen for anyone who appreciates a good story set to unforgettable melodies.**


Johnny Cash – A Boy Named Sue Lyrics

My daddy left home when I was three
And he didn’t leave much to ma and me
Just 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 he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me «Sue».
Well, he must o’ thought that is quite a joke
And it got a lot of laughs from a’ lots of folk,
It seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I’d get 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 keen,
I’d roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made me 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.
Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
And I just hit town and my throat was dry,
I 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,
And I 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 cold
And I said, «My name is ‘Sue’! How do you do!
Now you’re gonna die!»
Yeah, that’s what I told him!
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.
But I busted a chair right across his teeth
And we crashed through the wall and into the street
Kicking and a’ gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.
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,
He went for his gun and 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 ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you’d have to get tough or die
And it’s the name that helped to make you strong.»
He said, «Now you just fought one hell 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 ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I’m the son of a bitch that named you ‘Sue’.»
Well, what could I do, what could I do?
I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I came 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 son, I think I’m gonna name him
Bill or George! Anything but Sue! I still hate that name!



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