THE SMOKED SAUSAGE KING, HERE IS BIG BAD JIMMY – JIMMY DEAN


Apr 13, 2004


The Bottom Line Jimmy Dean was born “Seth Ward” in Plainview, Texas on 10 August 1928 who later became a Millionaire in the smoked sausage industry

Jimmy grew up in a very poor family and as a young boy had to work on nearby farms to help his family make ends meet. He was raised by his Mother who operated a Barbershop. At the age of 10 years old his mother taught him how to play the piano. He self taught himself how to also play a guitar, the harmonica and an accordion. He joined the Merchant Marines at age 16 and after 2 years he joined the Air Force. While in the Air Force he made his very first public appearance performing with the “Tennessee Haymakers” around the Washington, D.C. area where he was stationed at the time. He received his honorable discharge in 1948 and decided to stay in the area and start up his own band called the “Texas Wildcats”. They toured U.S. Army bases throughout the Caribbean. He then found work first at WARL Radio in Arlington, Virginia and then at WTOP TV in Washington, D.C.

In 1952 he signed a contract with “Four Star” records. On 7 March 1953 his very first record “Bumming Around” debuted on the Country singles chart and peaked at #5. His name appeared as “Jimmie Dean” on the record and soon after he decided to change it to Jimmy. He next hosted a local TV show devoted to country music and gave notice to both “Patsy Cline” and “Roy Clark”. The show became so popular that CBS TV offered him a contract to do it for them. He appeared on a daytime half-hour variety show called “The Jimmy Dean Show” based in Washington D.C. from April to December. On 22 June 1957 “The Jimmy Dean Show” was also shown at night on CBS until September on Saturday nights from 10:30 to 11:30.

He signed a new contract with “Columbia” records and his first release with them was “Deep Blue Sea” that debuted on 14 October 1957 on the Pop singles chart and peaked at #67. His next release was “Little Sandy Sleighfoot” that made its single pop debut on 23 December and peaked at #32. He released other singles on “Columbia” from 1957 to 1961 but none of them made any of the charts. On 2 October 1961 “Big Bad John” debuted on the pop chart and peaked at #1 for 5 weeks. It debuted on the country chart on 16 October and also went to #1 where it stayed for 2 weeks and became his very first million selling record.

In 1962 he had 5 hits on the country singles charts and he had 7 on the pop singles charts. His biggest hit this year was “P.T. 109” that peaked at #3 on the country chart and peaked at #8 on the pop chart. The song was about the exploits of “John Fitzgerald Kennedy” in the Navy in the South Pacific and the sinking of his P.T. Boat by a torpedo in 1943. He also released a follow up song to “Big Bad John” called “Cajun Queen” who comes to town to rescue her man. In September 1963 ABC TV signed him to do “The Jimmy Dean Show” on their network on Thursday nights from 9 to 10 PM. It was on Thursday nights up to September 1965 where it moved to Friday nights from 10 to 11 PM until it finally went off the air in April 1966. It was on this show that the very first Muppet character named “Rowlf” the long eared, wise cracking, piano-playing dog appeared and was a regular weekly character on the show.

He had only one song on the charts in 1964 it was “Mind Your Own Business” that peaked at #35 on the country chart. It was written by and previously performed by “Hank Williams” that had a #5 country hit of it in 1949. In 1965 he had 2 songs on both the pop and country charts the biggest of these was his #1 country hit “The First Thing Ev’ry Morning (And The Last Thing Ev’ry Night)”. His contract with “Columbia” expired in late 1965 and he signed a new contract with “RCA” records. He had “Stand Beside Me” that went to #10 on the country singles chart in 1966. He saw 3 hits on the country singles chart in 1967 with the biggest of these being “Sweet Misery” that went to #16.

Once again in 1968 he had 3 more songs on the country singles chart with the biggest of these being “A Thing Called Love” that peaked at #21. He became a regular on the NBC TV show “Daniel Boone” this year playing “Josh Clements” until the show went off the air on 27 August 1970. He had only one country single on the chart in 1969 with “A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose” that peaked at #52. Also this year he starred in a Made for TV Movie called “The Ballad Of Andy Crocker” along with “Lee Majors”, “Agnes Moorehead”, “Joey Heatherton” and “Marvin Gaye”. He founded the “Jimmy Dean Meat Company” and invested most of his earnings in hog farming.

In 1971 he had 2 country hits with the best of these being a duet with “Dottie West” titled “Slowly” that peaked at #29. He starred in the “James Bond” Movie this year “Diamonds Are Forever” with “Sean Connery”, “Jill St. John” and others. In 1972 he had one country song on the singles chart with “The One You Say Good Mornin’ To” that peaked at #38. He also starred in his 2nd Made for TV Movie this year in “Rolling Man” along with “Slim Pickens”, “Dennis Weaver”, “Agnes Moorehead” and others. He had only one song on the country singles chart in 1973 with “Your Sweet Love (Keeps Me Homeward Bound) that stalled at #90.

In 1976 he had 2 hits on the country charts and his final hit on the pop charts in “I.O.U.” that peaked at #35 on the pop chart. It would peak at #9 on the country chart and become his first top 10 hit in 10 years. The song was a narrative tribute to his Mother. He also re-recorded a new version of his #15 country hit from 1962 “To A Sleeping Beauty” that this time only peaked at #85. He also starred in his 3rd Made for TV Movie this year called “The City” along with “Don Johnson”, “Mark Hamill”, William Conrad” and others. In 1977 “I.O.U.” was re-released and stalled at #90 on the country singles chart this time.

In 1983 “I.O.U.” was re-released again and this time peaked at #77 on the country singles chart and became his final charting record. In the mid 80’s Jimmy sold his meat company to Sara Lee Foods but remained on as its chairman and TV spokesman. In 1990 he appeared in the Movie “Big Bad John” along with “Buck Taylor”, “Jack Elam”, “Ned Beatty”, “Bo Hopkins” and others. My favorite CD by Jimmy Dean is ”GREATEST HITS” that was released on “Columbia” records on 27 January 1998. The songs on this CD are listed below in the order as they appear followed by their length and then by my rating of each song:

1. Big Bad John – 3:01 – 5
2. The Cajun Queen – 2:38 – 4
3. Harvest Of Sunshine – 1:42 – 4
4. Little Black Book – 2:25 – 4
5. Steel Man – 2:43 – 3
6. The First Time Ev’ry Morning (And The Last Time Ev’ry Night) – 2:08 – 3
7. Sam Hill – 2:23 – 3
8. P.T. 109 – 3:11 – 5
9. To A Sleeping Beauty – 5:14 – 4
10. The Farmer And The Lord – 2:12 – 3
11. I Won’t Go Huntin’ With You Jake – 2:51 – 3
12. Dear Ivan – 3:50 – 5

TOTAL POINTS: 46 POINTS DIVIDED BY 12 SONGS = 3.83 OR 3 3/4 STARS

Rating Key:
5 –Great
4 – Very Good
3 – Good
2 – Fair
1 – Poor
0 – This song does not belong here!


Billboard US Top 100 Pop Singles for “JIMMY DEAN”

1. Deep Blue Sea – Debut on 10/14/57, Peaked at #67
2. Little Sandy Sleighfoot – Debut on 12/23/57, Peaked at #32
3. BIG BAD JOHN- Debut on 10/02/61, Peaked at #1 for 5 weeks (GOLD)
4. Dear Ivan – Debut on 01/06/62, Peaked at #24
5. To A Sleeping Beauty – Debut on 01/20/62, Peaked at #26
6. The Cajun Queen – Debut on 01/27/62, Peaked at #22
7. P.T. 109 – Debut on 03/31/62, Peaked at #8
8. Steel Man – Debut on 06/23/62, Peaked at #41
9. Little Black Book – Debut on 09/15/62, Peaked at #29
10. Gonna Raise A Ruckus Tonight – Debut on 12/01/62, Peaked at #73
11. The First Thing Ev’ry Morning (And The Last Thing Ev’ry Night) – Debut on 06/26/65, Peaked at #91
12. Yes, Patricia, There Is A Santa Claus – Debut on 12/25/65, Peaked at #14
13. I.O.U. – Debut on 05/15/76, Peaked at #35 (GOLD)

Billboard US Top 200 Pop & Country Albums for “JIMMY DEAN”

1. Big Bad John And Other Fabulous Songs And Tales – Debut in 1962, Peaked at #23, Pop
2. Portrait Of Jimmy Dean – Debut in 1962, Peaked at #144, Pop
3. The First Thing Ev’ry Morning – Debut in 1962, Peaked at #1
4. Jimmy Dean’s Christmas Card – Debut in 1965, Peaked at #13, Pop
5. Jimmy Dean’s Greatest Hits – Debut on 1966, Peaked at #22
6. Jimmy Dean Is Here! – Debut in 1967, Peaked at #10
7. A Thing Called Love – Debut in 1968, Peaked at #20
8. Country Boy & Country Girl – Debut in 1971, Peaked at #42
9. Everybody Knows – Debut on 1971, Peaked at #41
10. These Hands – Debut in 1972, Peaked at #43

Billboard US Top 100 Country Singles for “JIMMY DEAN”

1. Bumming Around – Debut on 03/07/53, Peaked at #5
2. BIG BAD JOHN- Debut on 10/16/61, Peaked at #1 for 2 weeks (GOLD)
3. Dear Ivan – Debut on 02/03/62, Peaked at #9
4. The Cajun Queen – Debut on 02/10/62, Peaked at #16
5. To A Sleeping Beauty – Debut on 03/10/62, Peaked at #15
6. P.T. 109 – Debut on 04/21/62, Peaked at #3
7. Little Black Book – Debut on 09/29/62, Peaked at #10
8. Mind Your Own Business – Debut on 02/01/64, Peaked at #35
9. The First Thing Ev’ry Morning (And The Last Thing Ev’ry Night) – Debut on 06/05/62, Peaked at #1 for 2 weeks
10. Harvest Of Sunshine – Debut on 10/30/65, Peaked at #35
11. Stand Beside Me – Debut on 10/22/66, Peaked at #10
12. Sweet Misery – Debut on 02/18/67, Peaked at #16
13. Ninety Days – Debut on 07/22/67, Peaked at #41
14. I’m A Swinger – Debut on 11/18/67, Peaked at #30
15. A Thing Called Love – Debut on 03/09/68, Peaked at #21
16. Born To Be By Your Side – Debut on 08/10/68, Peaked at #52
17. A Hammer And Nails – Debut on 11/09/68, Peaked at #22
18. A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose – Debut on 04/05/69, Peaked at #52
19. Slowly – Debut on 01/30/71, Peaked at #29 with “Dottie West”
20. Everybody Knows – Debut on 04/17/71, Peaked at #54
21. The One You Say Good Mornin’ To – Debut on 01/01/72, Peaked at #38
22. Your Sweet Love (Keeps Me Homeward Bound) – Debut on 10/06/73, Peaked at #90
23. I.O.U. – Debut on 05/15/76, Peaked at #9 (GOLD)
24. To A Sleeping Beauty – Debut on 09/25/76, Peaked at #85
25. I.O.U. – Debut on 05/14/77, Peaked at #90
26. I.O.U. – Debut on 05/14/83, Peaked at #77

SOME SONG LYRICS

BIG BAD JOHN

(Big John, Big John)
Ev'ry 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 Loosiana 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)

CAJUN QUEEN

She kinda breezed into town from New Orleans,
And said, "Boys, I'm Big John's Cajun Queen,
Now I didn't come here to argue or waste anbody's time,
I just came to get my man from your dirty old mine,
'Cause he moves me!
Now where you give up's where old Queenie's gonna start,
'Cause I got a powerful love in my heart,
So just show me the hole way down in the ground,
And tell the whole wide world Big John's been found,
And he's livin'!"

So down in the mine without a sign of a light,
Old Queenie went a-lookin' for John that night,
She found him there at the bottom of the pit,
And placed a red hot kiss on those cold blue lips!
He started breathin'!
She waited a minute and then she kissed him again,
And old John got the power of a hundred men,
Up he come a-clawin' and a-diggin' like a mole,
And said, "Come on Queenie, we're gonna leave this hole!"
They started walkin'!

Now a roar from the crowd greeted this fine pair,
As they both walked out in that cool night air,
And up for silence went Big John's hand,
And the Queen said, "I told you I'd get my man,
'Cause he moves me!"
You can find them today, they're down in New Orleans,
Big Bad John and his Cajun Queen,
They're a little bit wrinkled from the strain of time,
But their love's just as strong as that night in the mine,
A hundred and ten grandchildren!

P.T. 109

In '43 they Set to sea
13 men and Kennedy
Aboard the PT 109
To fight the Brazen enemy
On the isle of ol lusana
in the strait beyond nehru
A Jap destroyer in the night
Cut the '109 in two.

Smokin fire upon the sea
Everywhere they looked was the enemy
the heathen gods of old Japan
Yeah, the thought they had the best of a mighty good man

On the coast, commanderos, lookin thru this periscope
Australian niven saw the battle
For the crew had little hope
two were dead, some were wounded, all were clinging to the bow
Fightin fire, fightin water, trying to save their lives somehow.

Smokin fire upon the sea
Everywhere they looked was the enemy
the heathen Gods of old Japan
Yeah, the thought they had the best of a mighty good man

Mac Me hun, the irishman, was burned so badly he couldn't swim
leave me here, go on he said, cause if you don't we'll all be dead
the PT's skipper wouldn't leave him, a man to die alone at sea
with his strap, between his teeth, he towed the irishman to the sea.

JAGUARDOG’S FINAL THOUGHTS

I had only one record in my collection by Jimmy and that was his biggest hit “Big Bad John” until within the last few years when I have purchased a few of his compilation greatest hits CD’s. If I ever get back into collecting singles again I will be looking to get that one back again and also look for my other favorite of his “P.T. 109”. A few of Jimmy’s bigger hits were spoken as opposed to sung and had a musical background. A good example of this was “Dear Ivan” that had the “Battle Hymn Of The Republic” playing in the background. Another of these was “To A Sleeping Beauty” that had the tune “Memories” in the background. His one charting Christmas hit “Yes, Patricia, There Is A Santa Clause” was inspired by the 1897 newspaper article titled “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Clause”. I remember watching “The Jimmy Dean Show” almost every week mostly to see the talking Muppet Dog Ralph, pronounced “Rowlf”. Jimmy Dean’s sound was amiable, good-natured, innocent, laid-back, mellow, smooth and sometimes told a story. Well that’s all I have for today, thanks for reading and rating and if you want to leave a comment. Up next I have planned a group that I’m sure most of you will be very surprised when I cover them because of the genre I believe?


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