Big Bad John
14 Jan
2019
Not in Hall of Fame

November 6 – December 10, 1961

Jimmy Dean

Big Bad John

We can’t be talking about the sausage guy right?

As it turns out, yes we are.

Before he was the smoked sausage king of the America (though for my money, the true sausage king is Abe Froman from Chicago)[1] Jimmy Dean was a country singer who would become more successful as country music show television host and would be picked up nationally for a year by CBS in 1958.  While the show didn’t last, Dean proved he was a personable figure and worthy to resume a recording career of his own.

His first few singles flopped, but it was the story of the Paul Bunyan like, “Big Bad John” that would not only become a country hit but a surprise crossover success and it would be his first and only Hot 100 number one.  Dean didn’t sing, rather he orated a ballad of a man who stood “six feet six and weighed 245”.  Because he spoke the words rather than sang them, the story was clear and listeners learned the entire story of a man who man who allegedly killed a man over a “Cajun Queen” but saved twenty of his fellow miners from a collapse.

It may have been a story about a miner, but because it was a story of heroism and echoed frontier myths (which was very popular in the early 60’s) it gave it a broad appeal, though since it involved a mining collapse, I wonder how many actual miners wanted to listen to a song where that occurred?

Dean would have a pretty good decade with more television appearances, a few more hit records on the country charts and yes, creating his sausage company in 1969, where he would star in the commercials and for most of you (and yes me too) would be known far more for. 

Now enough about his sausage ok?[2] 


Other Notable Songs that charted but did not go to number one in this time period: November 6, 1961 – December 10, 1961.

11/27/61: Crazy by Patsy Cline went to #9 however hit #2 on both the Country & Western and Adult Contemporary Chart[3].

[1] Bueller?  Bueller?  Tell me you know the reference to Abe Froman!

[2] His autobiography was called “30 Years of Sausage, 50 Years of Ham”.  My gutter filled mind is wondering who has an autobiography that is just called  “30 Years of Sausage”?

[3] Serious, this is a legendary song that NEVER went #1 on any chart.

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