Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Greatest HitsReleased: 1961Charted:
Jimmy Dean wrote this about fellow actor John Mentoe ("Destry Rides Again"), who was 6' 5" tall. According to Dean's roommate (at the time), the song was intended to be a joke.
Floyd Cramer ("Last Date") was hired to play the piano on the recording, but wound up hitting a chunk of steel with a hammer instead. It was Floyd's idea to make the switch.
In the US, this was a monster hit with tremendous crossover appeal. Not only did it top the Hot 100 for five weeks, it was also #1 on the Country chart for two weeks, and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for 10 weeks. The next song to reach the top spot on all three charts was "Rhinestone Cowboy
" by Glen Campbell in 1975.
Jimmy Dean went on to become famous for his line of sausage products. He also had his own TV series in the '50s and '60s.
The original ending of "At the bottom of this mine lies one hell of a man" was deemed too controversial.
Dean wrote this on a flight from New York to Nashville when he realized he needed another song for his recording session.
This was the 100th #1 song of the Rock Era, defined by Billboard as beginning in July 1955, when "Rock Around The Clock
" by Bill Haley & His Comets topped the US singles chart.