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. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for above 2)
This was a huge hit in the US. Not only did it top the Pop charts for 5 weeks, but it was also #1 on the Country charts for 2 weeks, and #1 Adult Contemporary for 10 weeks.
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. (thanks, John - Bowie, MD)
Dean wrote this on a flight from New York to Nashville when he realized he needed another song for his recording session. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
This was the 100th #1 song of the Rock era (taken from when "Rock Around The Clock
" by Bill Haley topped the US singles chart in 1955).