In the mid-'60s, Henson Cargill left his job as deputy sheriff in Oklahoma City to pursue a career in country music. Shortly after arriving in Nashville, he connected with Don Law, a legendary producer who served as the head of Columbia Records' country music division and had just formed an independent production company. He helped Cargill get signed to Monument Records and agreed to produce his debut single, "Skip A Rope." The socially conscious tune held parents accountable for teaching their children immoral behavior, from verbal abuse to tax evasion.
The title comes from the game skipping rope (or jumping rope). The singer explains you can learn a lot about a child's home life if you listen to them talk while they play.
Written by Jack Moran and Glenn Douglas Tubbs (nephew to country music pioneer Ernest Tubbs), it was one of the first country songs to broach the subject of racism during the tumultuous Civil Rights era, with Cargill singing, "Never mind the rules, just play to win, and hate your neighbor for the shade of his skin."
The country chart-topper was also a crossover hit, peaking at #25 on the pop chart. Cargill is regarded as a one-hit-wonder in the pop realm, but he went on to notch several more Top 20 hits on the County chart, including "Row Row Row," "None Of My Business," and "The Most Uncomplicated Goodbye I Ever Heard."
This earned Cargill a Grammy nomination for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, but the trophy went to Johnny Cash for his live version of "Folsom Prison Blues
Several artists covered this, including Jimmy Dean, Conway Twitty, Patti Page, Bobby Bare, B.J. Thomas, The Jordanaires, and George Jones. The country rock group The Kentucky Headhunters also included in on their debut album, Pickin' On Nashville, in 1989.