Hatfield or McCoy

Album: Still Climbing (2013)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is one of several tracks on Leslie West's Still Climbing album, that he co-wrote with his wife, Jenni - much to the guitarist's surprise. West was in the band Mountain with Felix Pappalardi, who wrote songs with his wife Gail. This relationship didn't end well, with Gail shooting Felix to death in 1983. "It's not always a good thing when you're in business together," West said.
  • West explained to Billboard magazine: "I'd wake up in the morning and I'd look at my iPad and I'd see these lyrics waiting for me on iCloud. I'm not good at lyrics at all. So for 'Hatfield or McCoy,' everybody in America knows who the Hatfields and the McCoys were, but Jenni wrote a lyric about, 'Hey, either you're in or you're out. Are you with us? Against us? Are you Democrat? Republican?' I couldn't have done that, and I thought it was really great, so it really worked out well here."

    The Hatfield–McCoy feud involved two families along the Kentucky-West Virginia border in the late nineteenth century. Their bitter rivalry was sparked at the end of the Civil War by the murder of returning Union soldier Asa Harmon McCoy. It was widely believed that an uncle of Devil Anse Hatfield, Jim Vance, committed the murder. The feud continued over the next few decades and climaxed on January 1, 1888 when the Hatfield family crossed the river to burn down patriarch Randall McCoy's home. His two children were killed and his wife was seriously injured.

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