Ned Kelly

Album: A Man In Black (1971)
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Songfacts®:

  • The son of an Irishman who was transported for what today would be considered a fairly trivial act of theft, Edward Kelly was born in the new country in either 1854 or 1855. Life dealt Kelly a bad hand, but as a boy he saved another boy from drowning at considerable risk to himself. Still aged only about fourteen he was arrested for assaulting a Chinese pig farmer who had the unbelievable name Ah Fook.

    Depending on the observer's viewpoint, Kelly was either a small time crook - cattle rustler, horse thief - or the victim of a campaign of police harassment. Certainly the two are not mutually exclusive, and the Kelly family received more than their fair share of attention from the legal authorities. Ned ended up living on the wrong side of the law, and in 1878 he and his gang murdered three police officers, then took to robbing banks. With an eight thousand pound reward on their heads, it was only a matter of time before they were brought to book. Kelly was captured after a bloody shootout in June 1880. Tried for murder and duly convicted, he was sentenced to death, and hanged at Melbourne Gaol in November the same year, in spite of a considerable petition to spare his life.
  • The Johnny Cash recording, which he wrote himself, runs to only 2 minutes 19 seconds, and is the seventh track on his Man In Black album. Fairly neutral in tone, it is best described as a mini-biography rather than a tribute song.
  • Unsurprisingly, Ned Kelly made the transition to celluloid. In 1970, an eponymous film featured Mick Jagger in the title role, a venture the Rolling Stones frontman would rather forget. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3

Comments: 1

  • Carolyn from Knoville, TnMick Jagger starred in a movie about Ned Kelly. It also has a song from Waylon Jennings on there--I think the title is "The Pleasures of a Sunday Afternoon".
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