Jimmy Dean - Big Bad John

Big Bad John

"Big Bad John" is a country song originally performed by Jimmy Dean, who wrote and composed in collaboration with Roy Acuff. Released in September 1961, by the beginning of November it went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and won Dean the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording, and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.


The song and its sequels tell a story typical of American folklore, reminiscent of Paul Bunyan or John Henry. Big Bad John was also the title of a 1990 television movie starring Dean.

Big Bad John - Jimmy Dean lyrics


Every mornin' at the mine you could see him arrive

He stood six-foot-six and weighed two-forty-five

Kinda broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip

And everybody knew ya didn't give no lip to big John

(Big John, big John)

Big bad John (big John)

Nobody seemed to know where John called home

He just drifted into town and stayed all alone

He didn't say much, kinda quiet and shy

And if you spoke at all, you just said hi to Big John

Somebody said he came from New Orleans

Where he got in a fight over a Cajun Queen

And a crashin' blow from a huge right hand

Sent a Louisiana fellow to the promised land, big John

(Big John, big John)

Big bad John (big John)

Then came the day at the bottom of the mine

When a timber cracked and men started cryin'

Miners were prayin' and hearts beat fast

And everybody thought that they'd breathed their last, 'cept John

Through the dust and the smoke of this man-made hell

Walked a giant of a man that the miners knew well

Grabbed a saggin' timber, gave out with a groan

And like a giant oak tree he just stood there alone, big John

(Big John, big John)

Big bad John (big John)

And with all of his strength he gave a mighty shove

Then a miner yelled out "there's a light up above!"

And twenty men scrambled from a would-be grave

Now there's only one left down there to save, big John

With jacks and timbers they started back down

Then came that rumble way down in the ground

And then smoke and gas belched out of that mine

Everybody knew it was the end of the line for big John

(Big John, big John)

Big bad John (big John)

Now, they never reopened that worthless pit

They just placed a marble stand in front of it

These few words are written on that stand

At the bottom of this mine lies a big, big man

Big John

(Big John, big John)

Big bad John (big John)

(Big John) big bad John

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