Fox On The Run

Album: The Greatest Hits + More (1968)
Charted: 5 97
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Songfacts®:

  • In this song, our hero is so crestfallen when a golden-haired beauty doesn't return his affections, that he fells like a fox that has been left for dead after a hunt.

    The song was written by Tony Hazzard, who also wrote Manfred Mann's hit "Ha! Ha! Said The Clown." In our interview with Hazzard, he explained: "I was a fan of The Band and wanted to write something I could imagine them recording. My original demo aims at that. The actual idea for the song itself really came from my imagination, from an image of a summer's day and standing in a wheat field sloping down towards a river.

    It was many years later that a friend took me to Cotehele House, a mediaeval manor house, modernized in Tudor times, on the River Tamar, which divides Cornwall from the rest of the country. We went round a corner and there below us was a field "leading down to the river" with reeds all around. I said, "That's the picture I had in my head when I wrote 'Fox On The Run'!"
  • This song became a bluegrass favorite, which seems unlikely since there's not much fox hunting in Kentucky. The vocals lend themselves to bluegrass harmonies though, and when the banjo player Bill Emerson heard the song, he started performing it with his duo Emerson and Waldron, and later recorded it with his band The Country Gentlemen. Tom T. Hall took the song to #9 on the Country chart in 1976, and it has also been performed by Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs and The Zac Brown Band.
  • In 1974, Sweet released another song called "Fox On The Run," which was an international hit. Tony Hazzard didn't appreciate the appropriation. "There's no copyright on song titles but some titles you just don't use," he told us. "Imagine if I wrote a song entitled 'Imagine' or 'Mr. Tambourine Man'!"
  • Said Hazzard: "I love hearing the cover versions. The song has adapted especially well to bluegrass. I should mention that Mike D'Abo, who sang on the Manfred Mann version, changed some of the lyric in the last verse (not sure why) so that has continued in the bluegrass versions.

    You can see my original version in my Selected Lyrics book, which includes a third verse which I wrote much later."
  • Tony Hazzard included his own version of "Fox On The Run" on his 1969 album Tony Hazzard Sings Tony Hazzard. He also re-recorded it for his 2022 collection, Demonstration.

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