The Ballad of Davy Crockett

Album: single release (1955)
Charted: 2 1
  • "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" was written by George Bruns (not Burns!) and Thomas W. Blackburn, both of them artists working at Disney Studios. There were actually three versions released close together: one by actor Fess Parker, this one by actor/singer Bill Hayes, and one by singer/actor Tennessee Ernie Ford (most memorable today as "Cousin Ernie" from the TV series I Love Lucy). Since Hayes' version went #1, we'll award the crown to him.

    Of course, this song existed to market Disney's 1955 film Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, which was based on the already-successful Disney TV series Davy Crockett. In fact, Disney was doing everything it could to stir up "Crockett fever," including marketing coonskin caps. Of course, the Disneyland theme park had "Davy Crockett explorer canoes" in the Tom Sawyer's island area as well.
  • This song, and the coonskin cap that became its emblem, are briefly referenced in the film Back to the Future, which is after all set partly in 1955.
  • What! Did you think that Davy Crockett was a myth, a mere American folk legend akin to Paul Bunyan? For your information, he was a noted frontiersman, soldier and politician, who served in the Texas Revolution and died at the battle of the Alamo. Not to mention serving as a member of the US House of Representatives for two terms, Tennessee's 9th district 1827-1831, and Tennessee's 12th district 1833-1835. OK, we'll grant you that, kind of like an early American frontier Chuck Norris, the tales about him got a little tall - we'll forgive you if you're skeptical about ursine slaughter at age three. But he was a real man whose real signature is on real US government documents and whose real ashes are somewhere in the Alamo vicinity (Santa Anna was sloppy with his grave-marking), and even has a real town in Texas named after him.

    Oh, the actor... we mean singer... Bill Hayes is also better known for his role as "Doug Williams" on the NBC TV soap opera Days of Our Lives.

Comments: 3

  • Phu from 12662 Cardinal Ave, Garden Grove, Ca 92843I would like to express my big thanks to you when I listen to this Ballad. I want to share with you a short story of my childhood before 1960 as a boy scout. During that period, I loved the Ballad of Davy Crockett so much that I suddenly sang its melody in my multiplication tables in class that made my classmates laugh and told me that it was so weird since I sang it in Vietnamese language! Now, living in the USA, I still use it to help kids at Elementary School, and luckily it is accepted!
    Phu Pham
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IWfEijXieA
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyCongratulations for Bill Hayes, born ninety years ago today on June 5th, 1925...
    And exactly sixty years ago today on his 30th birthday his version of "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" was at #9 on Billboard's Best Sellers in Store chart; and just over twelve weeks earlier on March 10th, 1955 it would peak at #1 {for 5 weeks} and it stayed on the Top 100 for 20 weeks.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 23 1836, the 13-day Battle of the Alamo began, it was pivotal event in the Texas Revolution, which ended with the defeat of the Mexican Army on April 21st, 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto...
    And exactly one hundred-nineteen years later on February 23rd, 1955 Bill Hayes' covered version of 'The Ballad of Davy Crockett' was at #9 on Billboard's Best Sellers chart; and fifteen days later on March 10th it peaked at #1 {for 5 weeks} on the same chart...
    Besides the formentioned Fess Parker and Tennessee Ernie Ford's charted versions; the Voices of Walter Schumann also released a version of the song, their version peaked at #14 on Billboard's Most Played by Jockeys chart.
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