"Oh My Darling, Clementine" is a popular American Western folk ballad that is most often attributed to performers like Percy Montrose and Barker Bradford. Its origins however, lie in an 1863 tune by H.S. Thompson called "Down By the River Liv'd a Maiden." Like "Clementine," the song is a mock-serious ode to the narrator's deceased lover, who drowned after she stubbed her toe and fell in the river. Thompson used some pretty clever imagery to conjure an image of our heroine:
Her lips were like two luscious beefsteaks
Dipp'd in tomato sauce and brine
And like the cashmere goatess covering
Was the fine wool of Clementine
In 2012, Neil Young and Crazy Horse recorded a hard rock version of the song for their Americana album. Other memorable covers include Jan and Dean's "Clementine" in 1959, Connie Francis' rendition on her Folk Song Favorites in 1961, Tom Lehrer's multi-styled version from his live album An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer and Westlife's from their Rat Pack tribute album Allow Us to Be Frank.
Bobby Darin took some "hefty" liberties with the tune in 1960 when he incorporated a fat joke at the end, warning a sailor to look out for a whale because "it just may be chunky Clementine."
The cast of the TV show M*A*S*H performed "Oh My Darling, Clementine" in the season five episode "Movie Tonight" in 1977. The episode also prominently featured the 1946 film My Darling Clementine. Directed by John Ford, the movie starred Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell and Cathy Downs (who played Clementine Carter).
The song also inspired the 1943 musical O, My Darling Clementine, starring Roy Acuff, Isabel Randolph, Harry Cheshire and Lorna Gray in the role of Clementine.