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(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance

by

Gene Pitney



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song was written by the prolific songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. When they wrote this, they were not full-time partners yet but were considering doing so.
Many people think that this is the theme song for the 1962 movie of the same name. Although it was written for the movie and everybody loved it, John Ford (the movie's director) hated it and kept it off the soundtrack. Gene Pitney himself later said: "The song 'Liberty Valance' was written for the movie but for some strange reason never was put in the soundtrack. Because of the prior success with 'Town Without Pity,' I was paid a bundle to record the song, and Burt Bacharach produced it. He wrote the song with Hal David. There was some screw-up between the publishing company, Famous Music, and the parent company, Paramount Pictures. As to why it never was in the actual film, the most bizarre part of the story I found out a few years ago. The actual music used in the film was from a 1938 Henry Fonda film called Young Mr. Lincoln. Go figure that out!" (thanks, Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for above 2)
Gene Pitney
More Gene Pitney songs
More songs written by Burt Bacharach and/or Hal David
More songs that are also the names of movies

Comments (11):

On April 22nd 1962, "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" by Gene Pitney entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #94; and on June 10th it peaked at #4 (for 1 week) and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 5 of those 13 weeks is was on the Top 10)...
It reached #2 in Canada and #3 in Australia...
I had the good fortune to see Mr. Pitney in concert at the New York State Fair in 1997, he put on a great show...
Mr. Pitney performed in concert at Carnegie Hall in N.Y.C. on February 26th, 1993; the day of the first World Trade Center's terrorist attack...
May he R.I.P. (1940 - 2006).
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
When I heard this the first time I was at Woolworth's, in the record section. With my friends. I was 10 yrs. old. And when it came on, my friend says, 'Chinese Music'. We laughed, thinking how can Chinese Music be part of a Western. Maybe John Ford was thnking the same thing.
- Frank, Tucson, AZ
This past week I was in Walmart looking for a movie. I found this in the five dollar section. I took it to work, and was able to play the first part to some of our clients. I had never seen the movie before this day. I watched the entirety of it that morning around two o'clock and afterward. While I watched, I understood why Holy Spirit lead me to it. One of the themes of the movie is the importance of voting and how voting can change the future. That's exactly what happened on November 2. The movie's phenomenal! Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, and a host of memorable actors playing profound characters.. boy Boy
- Scott, Columbus, OH
This song makes use of a kettledrum, or tympani, that strikes a beat that the tone of the drum goes upward. This represents the shots that were fired.
- Jordan, Los Angeles, CA
I think that this was Gene Pitney's best song. My parents had the 45 single when I was a kid in the 60s. I belive it was on Coral Records,a brown and yellow label.

The Royal Guardsmen (Snoopy vs The Red Baron) covered this song. They do an identical version,minus the violin or harmonica.
- wayne, Salem, VA
John Ford made a big mistake not using this song for his sound track. Gene Pitney captured the movies with his vocals and it would have been perfect to play at over the closing credits. I saw an attempted interview by Peter Bogdanovich with John Ford on set, and Ford acted like a real jerk and walked off the interview.
- Sal, Half Moon Bay, CA
What was John Ford's real problem with it?
- Vin, Boynton Beach, FL
cool original violin solo at the beginning...
after that, an empty sound with tymp and drums
for awhile.....very original
- steve dotstar, los angeles, CA
Gene Pitney hung with the stone's in 63 even covered a Jagger-Richard's song before they were even heard of in the states.Passe-I think not
- Bob, Roseville, CO
The so called hippy movement was gearing up and guys like Gene Pitney were considered passe as was ALOT of excellent afro american music. Gene Pitney had a wonderful voice. I have heard he dabbled in Opera..whether that's true ot not I don't know. What I do know is some of his songs like, Only Love Can Break a heart...Town without Pity...I Want to Love my Life Away....It Hurts to be in Love...I'm Going to be Strong... to name a few. Oh well the British Invasion(TO ME) was welcome despite the ousting of Gene Pitney and guys like Roy Orbinson and even Elvis (amongst others) that were just so damned good. However THe Man who Shot LV was not one of my big loves. Gene was though and then....THE BEATLES!
- greg, Victoria, Canada
Even though I never seen the song it was written for, I can imagine as a movie and the story it tells.
- Roberto, Las Cruces, NM
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