Wednesday, 6 September 2017

My Top Ten John Wayne Songs

I was never a John Wayne fan. I found him a pretty unpleasant character on screen... and I believe he was actually quite a bit worse off-screen.

My dad though... my dad loves John Wayne. If there's a John Wayne film on TV, he'll stop everything to watch it, even though he's seen it a hundred times before. Therefore, this Top Ten's for my dad...

The Quiet Man's a pretty good film though.

10. Haysi Fantayzee - John Wayne Is Big Leggy

Let's start with the obvious, which I always thought was just a silly, novelty pop song... until JC revealed it could well be "one of most subversive Top 40 hits of all time". Ughh. 

9. Nanci Griffith - Lone Star State Of Mind
I just saw John Wayne on the Late, Late Show
Save the girl and ride away
And I was hoping as the credits rolled
He'd make it back to her someday
Real tough guys never get the girl, Nanci.

8. Seals & Croft - John Wayne

Seals & Croft get macho...
Yes, I have a mind with a mind of its own, 
A soul like the soul of John Wayne.
Let's take a look at Seals & Croft to see if we think they might pull of that tough guy act...?


7. Paula Cole - Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?

Where is Paula's John Wayne?

6. Twin Atlantic - You're Turning Into John Wayne

 Scottish rock band gets upset that all their culture is imported from the States. Consider...
Every time there's a story,
I turn around, you're turning into John Wayne,
You're turning into John Wayne,
Now here's a grey Scottish theory,
Have you lost latitude and longitude?
Your latitude and longitude.
Now I know that I'm contradicting
Everything I own was made in the US of A,
Made in the USA
So when I breathe your air,
Do you believe you're changing the earth?
5. The Indelicates - Remember The Alamo!

Directed and produced by Wayne, many still believe this movie to be an accurate historical document, despite an iffypedia-quoted expert saying, "there is not a single scene in The Alamo which corresponds to a historically verifiable incident". Songwriters have been fascinated with this famous battle for years too: see The Ballad of Davy Crockett, The Ballad of the Alamo and even Remember The Alamo... which doesn't have quite the same message as the Indelicates song of the same name.

You may also wish to check out John Wayne Was A Nazi by MDC. Just saying.

4. John Martyn - John Wayne

John Martyn believed John Wayne to be a very scary man.
Don’t you dare look behind you
For you know I will be there
You’ll feel my breath on your neck
Turn, face me if you dare
I’ve come to measure you
I’ve come to fix you up
I’ve come to measure you
Fix you up.

I am John Wayne
I believe I’m John Wayne
You know, my name is John Wayne
Get on your horse!
3. Arctic Monkeys - Put Your Dukes Up, John

Maybe not directly about JW, but it's got a John and a Duke in the title, and it comes out fighting...

2. Little Green Cars - The John Wayne

John Wayne becomes the perfect metaphor for callous, hard-hearted rejection from this little-known Irish indie band...
You know your neglect
Is the reason that I'm so obsessed with you
And when I asked you your name, you said John Wayne
And I guess it's true
'Coz then you shot me down
Doubled over and I hit the ground right in front of you
I guess in the Wild West
It's OK to shoot the pest that's annoying you
1. Buddy Holly & The Crickets - That'll Be The Day

Perhaps not the most obvious Number One... until you realise that one of the biggest hits of the rock 'n' roll era is actually named after a line from The Searchers. 60 years later, this is still one of the greatest pop songs ever recorded.

Which one makes you want to get off your horse and drink your milk? (John never said that, apparently. It was Little & Large.)


  1. I used to call my colleague at work Hazel Haysi Fantayzee ... until I read the Vinyl Villian post!

  2. At a John Martyn gig on the Piece by Piece Tour, he performed "John Wayne" LOUD and he was way scarier than "Duke" ever was.


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