The Hanging Tree

Album: Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (2014)
Charted: 14 12

Songfacts®:

  • Jennifer Lawrence's Hunger Games character Katniss Everdeen sings this harrowing folk ballad of a man's hanging during the Mockingjay - Part 1 installment of the movie series. The song was arranged by the soundtrack composer James Newton Howard and the Lumineers. "The idea for the song came from the book... [author] Suzanne Collins wrote the lyrics and the idea was that it was an old Appalachian folk song that her father had taught her," director Francis Lawrence said during an interview as part of the AOL's Build Speaker Series. "So I knew we needed a melody like that."

    "And the Lumineers had written a really beautiful song for the Catching Fire soundtrack," he continued, "and I thought they could probably tackle something like that if they were interested. So I called them up... and the next day they sent me a recording of somebody whistling the tune and also a woman singing it. And it was perfect."
  • Lawrence admitted to David Letterman that she asked the filmmakers to get somebody else to perform the song. "'Will you guys please get Lorde to really sing it?,'" she requested. "They said no."
  • The song peaked at #1 on iTunes in 37 countries, including Germany, Mexico and Norway. because of its success the track was added to the digital version of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, as well as featuring on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Original Motion Picture Score.
  • When this debuted at #12 on the Hot 100, it became the highest-charting song related to the Hunger Games franchise to date, beating Taylor Swift's 2012 #19-peaking track "Eyes Open." Lawrence was the first female Academy Award winner to enter the chart since Cher released "Believe" in 1999.
  • Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers told Billboard magazine that Francis Lawrence instructed him that the song had "to be something that can be hummed or sung by one person [or] by a thousand people" and that it couldn't be "overly complicated." Schultz added that "it's supposed to almost feel like a nursery rhyme... innocent, even though it has a really dark undertone to it."

    Incorporating the lyrics that Suzanne Collins originally wrote in Mockingjay, Schultz and Fraites came up with a "couple melodies in about a day and a half or two days" during the September of 2013. "Eventually, they (the Mockingjay film executives) said, 'this one seems promising, let's do this,'" Schultz told Billboard.

Comments: 1

  • Thoby Wilson from Lagos, Nigeria.So touching but nice
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