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Artist: Johnny Horton
Album: The Spectacular Johnny Horton (Columbia)
The Battle of New Orleans was a huge country/folk hit in 1959 for Texas-born Johnny Horton, sometimes known as the “singing fisherman.”
After an already successful singing career, he had been signed to Columbia in the late 1950s and in 1957 had a hit with I’m Just a One Woman Man, which he followed up with other hits such as Johnny Reb and When It’s Springtime in Alaska. The Battle of New Orleans was next in line, and it shot to No. 1, even crossing over onto the pop charts.
Battle of New Orleans was written and previously recorded by Jimmy Driftwood for his album in 1957. However, the song was not played on the radio at the time because it contained the words hell and damn. Johnny Horton contacted Driftwood shortly after his recording and told him he would like to make his own recording of the song. It basically told the whole story of the Battle of New Orleans, under the generalship of Andrew Jackson, and did so in a humorous way. I remember 45’s of this song from when I was a child in the early 1970s. I especially liked the part about turning a gator into a cannon.
In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississipi
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in a town in New Orleans
In 1960, Horton won a Grammy for Best Country and Western Performance for Battle of New Orleans. He then had a hit with Sink the Bismarck and North to Alaska, which also went to No. 1.
Sadly, just as his popularity was soaring, he was suddenly killed in a car accident while trying to get to one of his many widely separated shows. Even after his death, hit songs continued to occur from the albums that had been released, such as Sleepy Eyed John and Honky Tonk Man.
Listen to The Battle of New Orleans below, in a video with all the lyrics.
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